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What To Do and Not To Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

By Sandra Wellman

 

Identity theft victims are those people that have had their personal information (or identity) stolen and the criminal run up their bills. If you are victim of Identity Theft, you are well aware how difficult it can be to get back on your feet again. Identity Theft victims often have to go through a series of steps to repair their credit and identity.

 

Once the victim has made contact with the three credit bureaus they often put a Fraud Alert on your credit report, which is supposed to be a protection for you, but the truth is it is a ‘mistake’ since it labels the victim. If you go to apply for a loan or credit card, it is likely you will receive a rejection in the mail.

 

So, is there a solution for Identity Theft victims and how can they repair the credit? First, it is important to avoid Identity Theft by protecting your Social Security Card, Driver License and other important information about yourself. However, if you are already in the credit bureaus labeled under the Fraud Alert, then you may find yourself giving up. Identities are stolen in several ways. The Internet is swarming with predators waiting to mess up someone else’s life. People may stand over your shoulder peeking down at you while you are keying in your PIN number at the bank. You might have been in a relationship and the person decides he/she owns you and when you break up that person takes your identity. There are several ways that your Identity can be stolen. The solution is then protecting your identity with shields that no one can break through. For a list of ways to prevent Identity Theft, visit my article "How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and PC Hackers.

 

If you are a victim of Identity Theft, then your identity needs to be protected more so than ever. This sounds crazy since someone already has your ID, but it will only hurt you further if you do not. You will need to stay alert to the activities that affect your credit report. It is important that you keep updated copies of your reports at all times. If you notice activity, immediately dispute the claims against you. Be sure to file a police report since you will need these reports to show the three bureaus and others that your identity has been stolen. Once you receive the police reports, make sure to send copies to each credit bureau so that the bureaus can get you on record. All three bureau names, addresses and phone numbers are available here. The credit bureaus are going to put up a Fraud Alert once the copies are evaluated. Here is where you need to stay alert. Instead of Fraud Alerts, you can request the bureaus put up a FREEZE on your accounts. A Freeze gives you the options that Fraud Alerts will not. For example, if you go to a bank and apply for a loan with a Fraud Alert on your accounts, most likely you will be turned down. However, if the banks see that you have a FREEZE on your accounts, they will investigate and possibly give you the loan. Freeze means that someone has affected your life by stealing your identity; while Fraud means that someone has committed a criminal act on your account, and that someone could very well be you.

 

You will also need to report any checks that you suspect were stolen. Monitor your banking account at all times to make sure that no out of place activities are going on. It is important that you alert your utility providers and anyone that you have open accounts with. If you have, credit cards report them immediately to get replacements. You may even want to cancel your current bank account and open a new account. This will offer a source of protection. It is also important that you contact your Social Security Office to find out if your Social Security has been used out of place. If actions have been listed on your card, be sure to let the Social Security Administrators know.

 

Making others aware of what is going on in your life, can spare you additional headaches. You are already a victim of criminal behaviors, why not take the steps to repair your credit and restore your life. Finally, you will need to contact Washington D.C. or the Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commissions and let them know you are a victim of Identity Theft.

 

Identity theft affects nearly 10 million Americans every year.

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          Back to Identity Theft Article Listing

          Ebooks on Identity Theft

          Identity Theft Protection - Don't Be A Victim. Use Proven fraud protection techniques to Safeguard
          You and Your Family against Identity Theft.

          ID Theft Recovery Guide and Prevention Manual - An essential guide to help educate the public
          about recovering from Id Theft.

          Books on Identity Theft

           

          To file an identity theft claim, please visit our resource page, for the link to the Federal Trade
          Commission.

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