How To Deal With Identity Theft

Identity theft is when a person’s personal information is stolen for the purpose of criminal use. Unfortunately it has become a growing epidemic. Most people don’t even know that they are a victim of this type of fraud until they are contacted by creditors and so we need to take precautions to ensure that we are not a victim of this crime. Here are some ways in which you can deal with identity theft:

Protect Yourself – There are ways you can protect yourself from identity theft. Always protect your personal information. Shred your confidential documents and only use secure sites when purchasing online.

Notify Credit Bureaus – If you suspect fraud you must first be sure that it is in fact fraud. If there’s a charge on your credit card statement that you do not recognize, call the credit card company and find out more about the charge. Some vendors hold their credit accounts under a different name so you may not recognize the charge. Once you eliminate the scenario that it was an error and you’re sure that it’s fraudulent activity then you should contact the credit bureau to establish fraud alerts. Your account will be flagged so that all creditors will contact you before extending any credit.

Request A Copy Of Your Credit Report – Once you receive your credit report, examine it carefully. Make sure the information is accurate and report all fraudulent activity, in writing, to the credit bureau and also to the creditor. Don’t forget to continually monitor your credit reports!

Debt Collectors – If you’re being contacted by a collector to pay the balance on a fraudulent account, get the name of the person calling, the collection company name, phone number, address, the creditor info, the amount of the debt, the date of charges and account number. Explain to them that you are a victim of fraud and that you are not responsible for the balance. You may need to complete a fraud affidavit form. Follow up the call with a letter and ask for a letter back stating that the account has been closed and that you do not in fact owe the debt.

Lost or Stolen Wallet/Purse – If you have lost your wallet or purse or had it stole, report it immediately. Call all credit card companies and get new cards with new account number sand change your password to a new one. Closely continue to monitor your bank accounts.

Identity theft is a big problem and it’s really difficult to catch people who have stolen other’s identities. If your identity has been stolen then it can take a lot of work to clean up the mess. Educating yourself will help you deal with Identity theft.

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