4 Steps To Recover From Identity Theft

4 Steps To Recover From Identity Theft


The topic of Identity Theft continues to surface regularly on the news, around the workplace water cooler, and in homes where consumers are trying to figure out the best way to respond when their social security numbers have been stolen, credit cards opened up in their names, and other unauthorized activity taken place. I.D. Theft isn’t merely an inconvenience, it is a problem that can cause much misery for the afflicted consumer.

If you suspect or know that you have been victimized, there are some steps you can take to defend yourself. Thanks to recommendations made by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are four steps you can take to win your battle against identity theft:

1 Review your credit reports, have alerts placed in your files. You are entitled to receive one free copy annually of your credit report from the three major credit reporting bureaus. If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, then obtain copies from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If you instruct one company to place a fraud alert in your file, they are required to inform the other two that an alert has been placed. Visit AnnualCreditReport to obtain your free credit reports.

2. Close tampered or fake accounts. Any credit accounts you opened should be closed as well as accounts not opened by you, but in your name. You’ll need to contact the fraud departments of each business and there are steps on the FTC site instructing you how to do this.

3. File a complaint with the FTC. By notifying the FTC of I.D. Theft, you can help this agency track theft trends which are shared with law enforcement people across the country.

4. File a police report. Notify your local police or the police in the locality where the theft took place. Some locales may be hesitant to take your report, while others may be required to do so under state law. In some states, notifying the state police is the best approach.

Once that you have identified that you are a victim of I.D. theft, taking immediate action is necessary. The longer that you wait, the worse the problem can become.

Further Reading And Resources

Credit Management Center

Defend: Recover From Identity Theft

Free Credit Reports


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".