In this modern era of technology, identity theft is a serious crime that can cause major and long-term damages. Sometimes scammers hack your online presence and other times they take away your money accessing your credit or debit cards.
If you are a victim of identity theft and don’t know what to do, then look no further. Here are the steps you must take to solve this unfortunate problem.
Step 1: Alert all your banks and creditors
Firstly, you should alert all your banks and creditors immediately. Then freeze all your credits. This way, important information about your credit will be secured. Furthermore, no one will be able to issue new credits using your information.
The freezing remains as long as you desire. Do not unfreeze before you take the next steps. You will receive a pin from the proper authority, to unfreeze all your accounts.
Step 2: Confirm the occurrence of the theft
Secondly, you must thoroughly analyze your accounts and statements. Go through all your bank information and credit card reports. If it is a false alarm, unfreeze your accounts. Then change your passwords and install a fraud alert. If the theft attempt is real, proceed to the next steps.
Step 3: Report the theft to the proper authorities
The third step is to report the matter to the police and the Federal Trade Commission. Late reporting might produce more fines and increase overall losses. Be quick to file a report with your local police office. Make sure you have a copy of the report you made to the FTC, your government ID, any proof of the theft, and the FTC’s memo towards the law enforcement.
Step 4: Check for fake usage of your information and eliminate them
Check for any irregular transactions. If you find any, quickly report the issue. Misuse of your information can cause you bankruptcy and throw you into debt. Paying off debts can involve high interest rates. Therefore, be quick in removing any false information from the credit reports.
Step 5: Change all your passwords
Changing every single password is mandatory. Identity theft commonly occurs through password access. After taking the previous steps, you must change all your passwords in a manner that is hard to figure out. Do not use the same passwords for a long time. Change your passwords frequently to reduce the chances of someone hacking your password.
Step 6: Have a fraud alert installed on your credit account
Finally, install a fraud alert. Fraud alerts are free. They will stay in credit reports for one year. This way no one will be able to make any accounts in your name. When that happens, you will receive calls for confirmation.
There are three forms of fraud alerts. Each alert has a different duration and will provide you at least one copy of your credit report. Furthermore, they will notify you when someone tries making transactions with your information.
The Bottom Line
Identity theft can create a dangerous state of financial emergency. You must never delay taking the necessary steps or take the issue lightly. Therefore, make sure you follow these steps in the right order, as effectively as possible.