What to do if your identity is stolen
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country. With today’s technology and the hacking of websites that store your personal information, identity theft protection is vital to monitoring your personal information and taking action as soon as you are alerted of unknown data activity.
Obtain and Review all 3 Credit Reports
If your identity has been stolen, the first thing you need to do is identify the scope of the theft. Get all 3 of your credit reports from the credit bureaus by calling any one of them and telling them that your identity has been stolen. By law, when you inform one credit bureau that your identity has been stolen, that credit bureau must inform the other bureaus.
Also, by law, if your identity has been stolen, you are entitled to a free credit report from the credit bureaus. You can also go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit reports. You get one free credit report at this website per year.
This prevents a credit bureau from releasing your credit information to a creditor without your express permission. Meaning any credit related transaction applications will be stopped.
Examine Credit Reports
Review all sections of each credit report to identify suspicious activity including incorrect information. From the header information, look at your name and any variations that you have never used. Circle those items that are incorrect.
Apply the same thorough review processes with your address, social security number and employment history.
Look at the entire credit profile including active positive accounts, closed accounts and the derogatory section which will include collections, charge offs, late payments, repossessions, foreclosures, and items included in bankruptcy.
Examine the public records section for any judgments, liens or bankruptcies that are incorrectly reporting on your credit report. Look at the dates of any of these items to be sure that they are accurate.
Finally, look at the inquiry section of the credit reports. This outlines credit checks and the companies associated with the credit check authorization process.
This is the toughest part of the process because each police department will have their own document and investigative processes. Be detailed when creating a report and file. Let them that an accurate police report is crucial to recovering from identity theft.
Submit Documents and Statements to the Credit Bureaus
With your police report and credit report in hand, now you have to verify information by sending documents with statements about your claims to each of the credit bureaus that is reporting the questionable information. Identity verification may be required.
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