Limit Damage Of ID Theft
1. If you become a victim of identity theft, you need to act quickly. This can help limit the damage.
2. Call any business where you know fraud took place. Ask to speak to someone in their fraud department.
3. Call your credit card company, or bank right away. Ask to speak with their fraud department. Ask for your accounts to be closed or frozen so an identity thief can’t add new charges to your accounts.
4. Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Contact the three (3) major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) to report being a victim of identity theft.
5. Order a credit report. By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from all three companies. You must contact each company individually to order your report, as each company is independent from one another.
6. File a complaint about your identity theft with the FTC. You can do so online at ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or over the phone at 877-438-4338.
7. File a report with the law enforcement agency which covers the area where you live. Bring all supporting documents with you when filing a report.
8. Log every phone call you make. Write down the date, time, phone number, as well as the name of the person(s) you spoke with.
9. Confirm discussions in writing with follow up letters or emails.
10. Set up a folder just for paperwork related to this issue.
11. NEVER send original documents. Keep them securely filed.
12. Send all letters, documents, copies, or other materials by certified mail with a signed return receipt. Log what you sent and to whom.
13. Get rid of fraudulent charges. You will need to be patient on this one. Call the fraud department of every false transaction to report you were the victim of identity theft. Send them copies of any information/documents they request. Ask for a letter from them confirming the removal of the fraudulent charges.
14. Close fraudulent accounts or have them frozen. Request a letter or some type of documentation confirming the account was closed and they acknowledged the fraudulent charges.
15. Correct credit report errors as the result of you being the victim of identity theft. Send a letter to all three credit reporting companies, requesting all fraudulent information or charges be blocked (removed). Enclose a copy of proof you were the victim of identity theft, as well as the confirmation from your credit card companies or banks showing you were the victim, plus they have reversed the charges on your accounts.
The attached slide shows some of your rights, if you should unfortunately become the victim of identity theft. Keep in mind you need to act fast at addressing these issues. The longer you leave items unaddressed, the harder it will be to correct them.
We hope this information over the last nine weeks has been useful. Maybe, just maybe, we saved someone from becoming the victim of identity theft. If you have any questions, please call your local law enforcement agency. You may also reach out to your credit card company, as well as you financial institution.
This information was gathered by Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson from several different sources such as; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Government’s Online Safety Site, Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, as well as the Federal and State Departments of Justice.
The first part of this series is here.
Details to avoid charity scams, info here.
Some of the tactics used by identity thieves
Protecting Bank Card Info is here.
Safeguard your identity info is here.
Some cyber safety tips
Signs of Identity Theft is here.