What to Do If Your Identity Is Stolen
Identity theft is a fast-growing crime that affects an increasing number of people every year. If you think you’re a victim of stolen identity, you should take certain steps immediately to prevent your credit from plummeting and help you recover from the incident. Then, you can protect yourself from being a repeat victim by taking certain precautions, such as shredding sensitive documents before throwing them away.
What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen
- Notify your affected banks and credit card companies: Shutting down a stolen bank account or credit card is the first order of business. If you lost your ATM or debit card, report it as lost or stolen to avoid being held responsible for any unauthorized transactions.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report: Contact Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion and request a fraud alert, which notifies potential creditors or lenders of the suspected fraud. This makes it easier to catch the perpetrator if someone attempts to take out a loan or open a line of credit using your identity.
- Check your credit score: With the fraud alert in place, you’ll automatically receive a free credit report. Check for new accounts you didn’t open, inquiries you don’t recognize, unfamiliar personal information, and other signs of ID theft.
- Consider freezing your credit reports: This locks down your credit information, providing more protection than a fraud alert. Just be aware that you can’t apply for credit with a freeze in place.
- Fill out an ID theft complaint: You can find this on the FTC website. Together with a police report, this serves as your ID theft report.
- File a police report: Present the authorities in your city with a copy of the ID theft complaint to help you file a police report.
- Send a copy of your ID theft report to credit reporting agencies and your credit card companies: This should stop your creditors from reporting information to the three credit bureaus, helping to preserve your credit score during this ordeal.
- Call the Social Security fraud hotline: This is important if your SS number has been used fraudulently. Request a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement to ensure it’s accurate.
- Alert your phone and utility companies: Tell these providers that you’re a victim of ID theft and that they shouldn’t permit a new account to be opened in your name. Send a copy of a utility bill to prove who you are.
- Change all account passwords: Your identity may have been stolen due to a weak password. Change all of them, using strong, differing passwords for each account.
- Get a new driver’s license: The perpetrator could be using your driver’s license as an ID. Go to your local DMV to have a new card and driver’s license number issued.
How to Protect Your Identity in the Future
- Never carry your Social Security card around with you.
- Shred documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.
- Check your credit score regularly. You’re entitled to three free credit reports per year—one from each credit bureau.
- Use credit, not debit, for online purchases, and only buy from websites that begin with “https,” which means the site is secure.
- Never access, send, or receive sensitive information while connected to public Wi-Fi.
- Never respond to emails, phone calls, or text messages from your credit card company or bank asking you to verify your personal information. Reputable companies will never make this request.
Prevent Identity Theft With TrueShred’s Document Destruction Services
You Can Trust TrueShred Through The Entire Process.
- Trust our team – TrueShred is a locally owned and operated family business founded by security industry professionals.
- Trust our security – TrueShred ensures a secure chain of custody for your sensitive material from the time we leave your office to the conclusion of the curbside shredding process.
- Trust our compliance – TrueShred issues Certificates of Destruction for your HIPAA, FACTA, or Gramm/Leach/Bliley compliance records.
- Trust our reliability – TrueShred arrives on your scheduled date or your service is free. Your satisfaction is always guaranteed—period!
- Trust our pricing – TrueShred pricing is simple, fair, and straightforward with no surcharges and no surprises. Get a free estimate today.
Contact TrueShred online or call 888-322-3218 to learn more about our document destruction services in the Washington, DC area!
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