Identity Theft: What to Do If It Happens to You
Steps to Take Immediately If You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft
Thieves are opportunistic. Especially when it comes to identity theft. They tend to exploit simple vulnerabilities in individuals’ information, and security practices, and gaining small and simple data helps them to steal more. In many cases, signs of identity fraud can take weeks or months to reveal themselves.
This fraud is when someone commits a crime or fraud in your name using your stolen personal information. Identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime across the nation, impacting everyone from Wellesley to LA. More reliance on digital technology and smarter hackers means that no one is immune to identity fraud.
If you are a victim of identity fraud, it’s important to act quickly to resolve the issue. Here are some steps that you should take immediately:
- Flag your credit reports. Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Inform them that you have fallen victim to identity fraud. Ask them to place a “fraud” alert in your file and confirm that they will contact the other two companies on your behalf.
- Get copies. It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the credit report. If your report is inaccurate because of fraud, then they are required to give you a free copy.
- Consider a credit freeze. You may want to place a credit freeze on your credit file, which means that the potential creditors cannot get your credit report. Doing this makes it less likely that a potential identity thief can open accounts in your name. To do so, contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, and then contact each credit reporting company.
- Call creditors. Call each of the creditors about any accounts that have been charged or opened fraudulently. Keep in mind that the credit fraud may have been going on for some time without you realizing, so look into previous transactions as well as current ones.
- File a report. File a report with your local police. Make sure to acquire a copy of the police report so that you can have proof of the crime.
- Keep records. Keep detailed records of your conversations and all correspondences in case there are any discrepancies.
- Change account PINs and passwords. Changing your password and PIN should occur every few months to keep risks at bay, but this is especially important to do after identity theft.
To help protect your finances or business from a disaster, contact the professionals at CAV Insurance today.