If you’ve ever found suspicious purchases on a credit card or unfamiliar activity on your credit report, we understand the fear and worry associated with this. For anyone who is a victim of identity theft, it brings stress and a sense of vulnerability, and it is best to act as quickly as possible to remedy the situation. We’ve provided some helpful steps below:
- If you’ve noticed suspicious activity on your accounts, contact your creditor or bank as soon as possible to let them know.
- Change passwords and PINs for any bank or credit card logins. It could be beneficial to check any online shopping accounts, as well, in order to change those passwords. You can also remove your credit card information from the online shopping account as an extra precaution.
- Contact any of the three credit bureaus and request a fraud alert. By requesting this from one credit bureau, the other two will be notified so that all three of your reports will have fraud alerts in place.
- By placing fraud alerts, you are also entitled to free copies of your credit reports. Request copies of your free credit reports and review them for any other suspicious activity that you believe to be fraudulent.
- You can contact each credit reporting agency to place a freeze on your reports. By doing this, your credit information will be locked down. This combined with the fraud alerts will provide an extra wall of security.
- Report the identity theft to the FTC by going to identitytheft.gov and clicking “Get Started”. You can also call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338. Make sure to keep records of when you filed the complaint, as well as an Identity Theft Report that the FTC will provide to you.
- File a police report. You will want to provide the FTC Affidavit and any other proof of the theft during this process. Make sure you receive a copy of this to keep with the FTC Identity Theft Report. You will want to provide a copy of these to any creditors involved to help take care of fraudulent charges.
- You will want to dispute any credit report errors caused by the theft with each of the credit reporting companies.
Always remember to regularly review your statements and your credit reports. You can set up alerts on most credit card accounts to notify you whenever purchases are made. You can also sign up for identity theft protection and credit monitoring services. The sooner you can detect signs of identity theft the better. For further ideas on identity theft prevention, refer to our recent blog post titled “Preventative Steps for Identity Theft.”