Your 4-Step Plan to Reporting Identity Theft
By: First International Bank & Trust
You hear about identity theft daily in the news, you know online security threats are on the rise and probably know some of the ways in which people steal and use your personal information. You most likely even know someone who’s been a victim of identity theft. With all that said, do you know the steps to take in the event that your identity has been compromised?
Step 1: Contact the company that hosts the account. If know access to a specific account was stolen, contact the entity that holds the account. That could mean calling your hospital or insurance company, the bank or your credit card company. Acting quickly to close or lock down compromised accounts can limit your liability for charges you didn’t make.
Step 2: Call one of the three credit companies (Equifax 1-800-525-6285, Experian 1-888-397-3742, TransUnion 1-800-680-7789) and ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit report. It’s free, and will keep the alert on your credit file for 90 days. Information will be shared between all three bureaus.
Step 3: Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Go to IdentityTheft.gov to file your report, and generate an identity theft affidavit. You will use this affidavit when you file a police report. Having these documents will make it easier to stop and reverse damage from identity theft. This will also enable you to place a seven year fraud alert on your credit file.
Step 4: Alert your local authorities. You will need to file an official police report if you know who the thief is, an affected company wants you to file the report, or if the thief has used your personal information in interactions with law enforcement. Bring a government issued photo ID, proof of address, your FTC Identity Theft report, and any other proof that could help the investigation.
Consider taking proactive steps to protect yourself from identity theft, including:
- Keeping track of your personal belongings. Don’t leave your purse, wallet or bag unattended in a public place
- Monitor your credit for fraudulent activity by reviewing your credit report once a year
- Shred or destroy documents that have account numbers, social security numbers or any other sensitive data
For more information on fraud, visit our education center or check out this great resource from the FTC.