Identity theft has grown exponentially over the past few years. Now more than ever, it has been easier for thieves to steal your information with just one click. Once your personal information is exposed, thieves can have access to your bank accounts and credit cards. If you suspect you are a victim of fraudulent activity, you need to report it immediately.
What Should You Do If Your Identity Gets Stolen?
As a victim of identity fraud, you will need to report the fraud to all three of the major bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion LLC. This will prevent any other future activity done without your consent. You want to make sure you do this immediately to stop thieves from getting access to other accounts including medical records, residential address and income taxes. Since an identity thief may be able to file for a tax refund or unemployment benefits without your knowledge.
- Contact Your Local Police Department
The next step you need to take is to contact your local police department and file a report. Although this may seem like more work and unnecessary, this is crucial and requires immediate action. For instance, someone who has all your information may be using your information to commit a crime under your name. If you report this to the police, you will have proper documentation and evidence of identity theft. This may also help find the thief behind the crime.
- File A Credit Report
Once you file a police report, it may be time to follow up with your credit report with the three bureaus about filing a fraud alert. This is important because the alert will stay for a year, which will also notify any institution about your specific situation. Remember, requesting a fraud alert is free of charge. After you file a credit report, you need to initiate a credit freeze on your report. This will stop thieves from having access to the report.
- Contact Creditors If You Suspect Fraudulent Activity
If the thief opened any accounts or used them, you need to contact creditors and ask for the fraud department. Let them know you suspect fraudulent activity in your account and ask them to not hold you responsible for any activity done without your consent.
- Create A Paper Trail For Your Records
One of the most important things to do is to document your case. Therefore, once you call the three major bureaus, you will also need to send written copies. This allows you to have physical evidence of your case. Make sure to state everything you had previously mentioned in your call with these companies and always keep a copy of all documents for your own records.
Here’s a guide of what to do if these things are stolen:
What to do if your license gets stolen?
If you lose your license, it is important you contact the Michigan Secretary of State and let them know about the fraud so they can issue you a new license. The thief may be using your license to try and impersonate you. In this case, you will need to provide other forms of identification, such as passports or proof of citizenship. Anything that can prove you are the true owner of the license.
What happens if your credit or debit cards are stolen?
Notify your bank about the incident immediately and ask them to close any cards under your name. In the event of a thief who used your checks, you will need to notify a check verification company and ask them to not use any checks on your closed account. In addition, make sure to send a written letter to your bank and save a copy for your own records. Most banks take fraud and identity theft seriously and have their own safety policies and procedures designed to help you as well.
Losing things can happen often. Therefore, always make sure you keep documents with sensitive information, such as your social security card number in a safe place, instead of carrying it around in your purse or wallet.
It is virtually impossible to predict when or how your identity will be stolen. If this happens to you, make sure to take the important steps to secure your accounts and information as fast as possible to prevent identity theft or any further damage.
If you suspect any fraudulent activity in your accounts and need guidance about the procedure, contact our firm to speak with one of the members of our team.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/, the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at www.privacyrights.org.
Here is a list of numbers to contact:
TransUnion LLC 1-800-680-7289
Check Verification Companies:
TeleCheck at 1-800-710-9898
DMV Fraud Hotline:1-866-658-5758