I was recently a statistic. I had my Identity stolen. I’ve been luckier then most and I discovered this early on and nothing major has happened (so far).
I found out when I went to e-file my taxes and couldn’t do it because a tax return using my social security number was already filed. I was hoping that it was just a typo but the following day I got an email from my credit card company that my card had a charge denied. Once I got that email I knew something was wrong.
I was surprised how violated I felt.
So what do you do if you think your identity has been stolen?
First, contact one of the major credit bureaus, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. Check your credit report to make sure nothing has been opened that you did not approve. Inform them that your identity has been compromised and put a lock down on your credit information. I also purchased one of there services to monitor my information, it’s a monthly fee, but I feel it’s worth the piece of mind.
Second, contact the companies that you know have been compromised. For me that was my credit card company. They canceled my card and sent me out a new one with a new number. They also put a flag on my account to monitor it closely and changed my security questions.
Third, contact other companies. I called all my credit card companies to give them a heads up. I also canceled any cards that I didn’t use, that included atm and debit cards that I don’t use.
Four, file a police report.
Five, file a report with the federal trade commission (this is for social security theft).
Six, monitor all your accounts closely for a few months.
Identify theft is on the raise. Make sure you, at the very least, get a free credit report each year and make sure your information is correct. All the companies I talked to were great about helping me out and it’s wasn’t as bad as it could have done. I was very lucky.