Every year, millions of consumers have their identity stolen. ID theft can result in serious damage to your finances, like incurring credit card debt in your name, and more. It is more important than ever that consumers know the necessary steps to take should they fall victim to identity theft. We want to provide you with a helpful guide on how to recover from identity theft.
What Do Identity Thieves Look For?
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Bank Account Numbers
- Credit Card Numbers
- PIN Numbers
- Health Insurance Number
- Any Answers to Security Questions such as mother’s maiden name, first pet’s name, etc.
According to the Federal Trade Commission here are the most common ways that thieves use stolen information.
- Government Benefits Fraud – 39%
- Other Fraud – 22%
- Credit Card Fraud – 17%
- Phone/ Utility Fraud – 12%
- Bank Fraud – 8%
- Employment Fraud – 5%
- Loan Fraud – 4%
How to Recover From Identity Theft
If you fall victim to identity theft, it is important that you are aware of the necessary steps it takes to recover and re-secure your finances. Here’s what to do to recover from identity theft.
- Contact credit reporting agencies – Be sure to contact Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and ask to place an identity theft or fraud alert on all reports.
- Contact banks and creditors – Consumers are able to report stolen/missing credit cards and any fraudulent activity on statements. Accounts that have been tampered with can be closed or frozen.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission – By filing a complaint with the FTC, consumers will receive a document verifying that they are a victim. Make sure you fill out the Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Contact the local police department – File a report with the local police. A consumer’s identity is similar to any other stolen property. Document and report the theft to begin the investigation. Get a copy of the report as evidence for re-securing identity and removing fraudulent charges.
Identity theft can affect your credit and your finances. Therefore, we urge you to take the first step in protecting yourself against identity theft.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.