There are several ways you could learn that you may be a victim of identity theft.
No matter how you discover the issue, if you’ve been affected by identity theft, it’s important to stay calm, assess the situation, and act quickly.
If you’re managing the recovery process on your own, here are some steps you can take to start:
Request a fraud alert or credit freeze. If you suspect fraud, we recommend placing a fraud alert on your credit file.
A fraud alert makes it harder for a criminal to open a new line of credit in your name by encouraging lenders to verify your identity. To place a fraud alert, reach out to one of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Second, consider placing a credit freeze on your file. A supplement to a fraud alert, a credit freeze prevents creditors from accessing your file. To place a credit freeze, you should contact each of the credit bureaus directly.
Review your credit reports and note all fraudulent accounts. Once you reach out to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, explain that you have been a victim of identity theft and that you need copies of your credit reports immediately.
When you receive your reports, review them thoroughly for any inaccuracies. If you note any fraudulent data, contact each credit bureau again and request that they remove the fraudulent accounts or information from your credit report. You should be able to do this online or by mail.
You should also make a list of the companies and creditors where your information has been used without your permission. More on that in the next step.
Contact all the companies where you know fraud happened. Next, you should contact each company or financial institution where your information has been used for a transaction you did not initiate or authorize, and explain that you are a victim of identity theft.
You can request that the organization freeze or close all accounts the thief may have opened or exploited.
If fraud occurred at a company that you have an account with, immediately update your security settings and change your login credentials and PIN.
Create an official identity theft report. The next step is to file an official identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov.
The FTC is a helpful resource for reporting the crime and may even provide you with official letters and documents you can use in your correspondence with credit bureaus and businesses.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s official page about recovering from identity theft.
If you’re recovering from identity theft, our services can help. If following the steps above feels overwhelming, we’ve got you covered.
The research. The phone calls. The paperwork. Managing identity theft recovery on your own can be time-consuming — and could impact your mental health as well.
Working with specialists like ours can help streamline the process. We help members combat identity theft every day, so our identity specialists have a game plan for facing fraud.
Learn more at www.myaip.com/asba.
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