In 2018, around 14.4 million people became identity fraud victims as per the Identity Fraud Study 2019 from a research and advisory company Javelin. Even though not all fraud cases are regarded as identity theft, we know that identity fraud is supposed to be the third most common fraud complaint that was made in 2018 to the FTC. Identity theft occurs when somebody utilizes your personal information for opening new financial accounts, filing tax returns, or making fraudulent medical claims. Here are some measures to take once you realize that identity fraud has taken place.
File an Identity Theft Report
As per Cnbc.com, you must first of all, prepare a proper Identity Theft Report. This could be found on the website of the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov. Remember this report is supposed to be your first effective step forward to gain recovery. The online report would be asking you a few vital questions regarding your situation and accordingly would be chalking out an effective personal recovery plan.
It is the responsibility of the FTC to compile information regarding all identity theft cases. Even though it does not have the power of pursuing criminal charges, its data or information could be utilized by US law enforcement agencies like the FBI to track down perpetrators. You must make a list containing all fraudulent activities. Applications for opening new accounts and also, accounts that have been already opened fraudulently in your name should be noted and also forwarded at once to the three main credit bureaus. Moreover, these must be listed on your precise Identity Theft Report.
Get In Touch With the Local Police Department
You must then file a report or complaint with the local police department. Even though the police cannot do much if your identity had been stolen online or overseas by criminals, your report could be of huge assistance to them for tracking down somebody who is used to stealing information locally. For more information browse through Editor Review.
Do Not Forget to Notify IRS
You must remember to notify the IRS in the case your precise Social Security Number has been used for filing any income tax return. You could submit a form14039 for Identity Theft Affidavit. Also, inform your insurance provider.
Incorporate a Fraud Alert into Your Credit Reports
You must mandatorily follow up with all the three credit bureaus namely, the TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and put in a request to place the fraud alert strategically on your account. This would be there on your precise credit report for 12 months and this helps to notify institutions that pull your credit reports that your identity has been compromised.
Freeze Your Credit
For an additional protective shield, you could consider freezing your credit that will stop any access to your precise credit reports. That implies your credit reports would not be shared with anyone by the credit bureaus.
More Security Measures for Your Accounts
Cybersecurity experts feel that most people are not used to practicing password hygiene. They never think of changing their password. To make matters worse, they often use one and the same password on literally every site. You may use a password manager for ensuring that all your accounts can boast of strong passwords.
Keep Scanning Bank Statements and Credit Cards
You must keep scanning old statements for identifying some other charges you do not recall or recognize. Keep reviewing dormant accounts and those accounts that are used very rarely or infrequently.
Once your identity has been compromised be sure to take the above-discussed measures. Moreover, consider closing accounts and reopening accounts even those that may not have been compromised. Finally, it is time to win back your sanity and breathe easy. Identity theft could prove to be devastating both emotionally and financially. The emotional stress and turmoil could end up disrupting your normal way of life. You would go without sleep or food and end up feeling down and depressed. Hence, take proactive measures in the event of identity theft or fraud.