What do you do if someone steals your identity? No one wants to consider this as a possibility, but if it does happen, you will need to act as quickly as possible. Identity theft may cost you time and money, and it can wreak serious havoc on your credit rating.

Step by Step Identity Theft Control

When you discover that someone has committed fraudulent activity with your personal information, you have to immediately control the damage.
identity theft

  • Call all relevant companies. These include stores where purchases were made in your name without your consent or knowledge, credit providers and your bank. Ask for a freeze to be placed on any account that was affected by the identity breach, and change the logins, passwords and PINS for all of your accounts.
  • Contact any of the 3 major credit bureaus. You will need to place a fraud alert with one of the major bureaus, and this will obligate the agency to report your alert to the other 2 bureaus. You should also request a copy of your credit report from at least one agency so that you can make yourself aware of all fraudulent activity that has taken place in your name.
  • After reviewing your report(s), make note of any account or transaction you don't recognize. It will be helpful to know as many details as possible before filing a report with the FTC and the police.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You will need to formally report the theft of your identity by either completing the FTC's online complaint form or calling them at 1-877-438-4338. Make sure that you print and keep the Identity Theft Affidavit that the FTC will provide for you. You will need this when you file a report with your local police department.
  • Go to the closest police office to file a report. Bring with you the aforementioned Identity Theft Affidavit, a government-issued ID with a photo, proof of your address (such as a utility bill), and any proof that you have that your identity was stolen. Make sure that you ask for a copy of the police report because you will need it for the remaining steps of your recovery plan.

Repairing the Damage to Your Credit

Finally, you will need to undo anything that was illegally done with your identity. While you may be stuck with some damage to your financial standing, you can minimize the harm by doing the following:

  • Close any accounts that you didn't authorize.
  • Petition to have bogus charges removed from your legitimate accounts.
  • Request that corrections be made to your credit report.
  • Consider signing up for a credit monitoring or identity theft protection service with a reputable and trustworthy company.

Whatever route you decide to take, you will want to take some kind of measure to protect your credit from fraud threat so that you don't have to go through all of this again.

Rebuilding Your Credit

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