More than ten million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year. As we become more and more connected through the internet, identity problems are likely only going to get worse.
Identity fraud can seriously hurt your finances and your ability to do certain things in life. If you are the victim of this kind of fraud, then you need to know how to report identity theft.
You should report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It is important that you also put a fraud alert on all of your accounts and even freeze your credit.
Of course, these actions are easier said than done. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. So if you would like to learn more, then keep on reading and we will take you through everything that you need to know!
Report Identity Fraud to the FTC
You can call the FTC’s hotline or go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identity fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. This will help you preserve your rights, including your ability to remove fraudulent activity from your credit report.
On the website, you also can get a customized checklist to help you fix the damage. After you report this fraud to the FTC, you also will be able to file a report with the local police.
When you file a report with the police, make sure to have a copy of the FTC report with you. The police can’t catch cybercriminals but they can help you if you know the person who stole your identity.
If you think that your identity was stolen through the mail, then make sure to report the problem to the US Postal Service.
Enact a Fraud Alert with the Credit Bureaus
If you believe that your personal information has been leaked, then you need to place an initial fraud alert on your credit files. This way, any company that checks your credit will know about the alert. They will then place extra scrutiny on the application process to make sure that the applicant is legitimate.
The alert is available to any person who believes that they are the victims of ID fraud. You can contact any of the three major bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. When you tell one of them, they will let the other two know about the fraud alert.
This alert will also mean that you get another round of free credit reports. These free reports can help you look for fraudulent credit accounts.
Contact the Companies Involved
As long as your report the problem as soon as possible to the card issuer, you shouldn’t have any liability for fraudulent charges on your credit card. The card is going to be canceled and you’ll get a new card with a different credit card number.
You should also make sure that you update your autopay accounts. It’s also a good idea to consider grouping all of your recurring payments together on one card to make it easier to stop fraud in case your identity is stolen again.
If you need help getting rid of fraudulent charges from your account, use the credit bureau dispute process.
If a new account was opened in your name, then call the customer service department to get help closing them. The FTC has sample letters and forms on their site that you can use if you need to provide written notice.
You might need to provide a copy of a police report too.
No matter what, you should keep notes of the time and date that you called. You also want to know who you spoke to and what actions they told you to follow.
Consider a Credit Freeze or Extended Fraud Alert
A fraud alert is going to tell companies that your identity might have been stolen when they go to pull your credit. With a credit freeze, you totally stop people from accessing your credit.
Nobody will be able to take out any loans in your name or start any new bank accounts. This is extreme but it is also the most effective way at stopping fraud in its tracks.
It is free to enact a credit freeze but you also need to contact each credit bureau individually to do this.
You can also enact an extended fraud alert that will last for several years. For this, you only need to contact one of the credit bureaus.
Hire an Identity Theft Lawyer
Finances can get very messy for people who are the victims of identity theft. Sometimes, you might even be liable for fraudulent charges that you never consented to. This is why it is so important that you consider hiring an identity theft lawyer, such as those at Consumerprotection.net.
When it doesn’t seem like you’re able to make any progress with your identity theft issues, an experienced attorney can be the best way to make sure that these problems are resolved in a timely and appropriate manner.
The Importance of Knowing How to Report Identity Theft
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of how to report identity theft. As we can see, it can be very frustrating when your identity is stolen. But by knowing what steps to take, you can minimize the damage and get your personal information secure once again.
Make sure to check out the rest of our site today for more helpful articles!