Identity theft is something more and more people are getting accustomed to hearing. Each week, we see or hear in the media people falling prey to spyware, bank databases being hacked of credit card information etcetera.
If you find yourself in this very stressful and terrible situation here are some things you can do:
Check your credit reports for any unauthorized purchases and put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
1) Call up any of the three major credit bureaus and have them place fraud alerts in your account which can deter hackers from tampering your other accounts. These credit bureaus have a network and share information with each other about fraud cases and so rest assured if you call one agency, all of them will put a warning on your behalf in their own reports.
2) If you are a victim of identity theft, you can ask for a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus.
3) Check your credit reports for any suspicious and unauthorized transactions. Have suspicious entries removed from your credit reports. Until your case has been resolved, continue to periodically check your credit reports.
4) Coordinate with organizations you have transacted with before and inform them of your case. You can also go direct to their fraud or security department. It is essential that you call credit card companies and banks. Write them a formal letter about your situation so that they will be informed.
5) Until your case has been resolved, when opening new accounts and you are required to supply a password or PIN code, think of personal information that is not that easy to access like birth dates, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.
6) If upon inspection of your accounts you found that someone has been able to gain access to them and has made unauthorized transactions, file a dispute with the concerned companies.
Go to the Federal Trade Commission and lodge a formal complaint:
1) You can either call their dedicated hotline for identify theft or fill out a complaint form from the FTC.
2) Get a copy of your printed FTC ID Theft Complaint, which together with a police report, can stand as an Identity Theft Report.
Lodge a report with your local police:
1) Go to your local police station and file a complaint. If this is not possible, you can call the police station and ask if you can file a report by phone or online.
2) If you are able to go to your local police station personally, do not forget to bring your FTC ID Theft Complaint form and other supporting documents.