While it’s important to take the necessary precautions when protecting your identity, knowing the steps to take when your identity is stolen can prove just as important.
It’s estimated that one in three Americans will experience identity theft at some point in their life. And, while there are many ways that it can happen, one thing is always true: the sooner you can react, the less damage the theft is likely to cause.
In order to move as quickly as possible, you’ll need to have a plan in place for protecting yourself from identity theft and getting notified at the first sign of a breach. Just as key, you’ll want to know what comes next, with a clear idea of what to do if your identity is stolen and who you need to alert.
Are you ready to take control? Here are some essentials that you need to know in the event of identity theft.
My Identity Was Stolen: Now What?
Identity theft occurs when a scammer uses your personal information for a fraudulent purpose, such as opening a new line of credit. Follow these steps if it happens, acting as soon as you can in order to minimize the amount of damage that you incur.
1. Notify the Impacted Agency or Company
You will want to contact the agency or company where your identity was used in order to alert them to the theft and allow them to put a halt to the service. In some cases, you may have to notify multiple other agencies or companies, such as your credit card provider, your bank, and the Social Security Administration.
2. File a Claim with Insurance
If you have identity theft insurance, contact your provider to file a claim and get on the path to recovery.
3. Report the Theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Visit the FTC’s identity theft reporting page to fill out information related to the case. The report you file will be used to help track identity theft data and shore up widespread protective measures.
4. File a Police Report
It’s a good idea to file a report with local law enforcement, especially if you know who stole your identity or if your identity was used in a police encounter. As for how to file a police report for identity theft, your local bureau will guide you on all necessary steps but you can speed up the process by bringing along any and all evidence of the theft you have (including your FTC report), as well as your I.D. and proof of address.
5. Boost Your Protection
Invest in an identity theft protection plan and help prevent this type of fraud from happening to you again in the future. While adding more protection after the fact won’t provide a fix to your current situation, it will be essential for providing you with ongoing security – and that’s key since you know your information is already out there.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Today’s scammers are sophisticated, and they’re constantly changing tactics in order to trick everyday consumers into giving up access to their personal information. And while there is unfortunately no way to completely prevent identity theft from happening, there are things that you can do to greatly minimize the risk.
- Setting up fraud alerts
- Signing up for a credit lock or credit freeze
- Enrolling in an identity theft protection plan
- Enabling two-factor authentication on personal accounts
- Tightening account security
- Not clicking on links from unknown contact
- Not sharing personal information with any untrusted source
By knowing how to prevent identity theft – and knowing what to do if your identity is stolen – you’ll be a step ahead of scammers and better protected from a personal data breach. For additional help and personalized protection services, contact our team at KeepMyIDs and make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to protect your identity.