When you discover that you’ve been a victim of online fraud and identity theft, it can be a scary moment. Where do you turn? Who do you call? How much have they taken? Where to even start?!?
If you find yourself in this situation, stay calm. You are not the first person to find your identity stolen, and unfortunately, you won’t be the last. Infinity Insurance offers some steps to help you clear your name and separate yourself from the fraudulent identity:
- As a victim of identity theft, you have rights. Visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission for more information.
- Cancel all affected bank accounts, credit or debit cards, and any other commercial accounts.
- Place a fraud alert in your credit report with all three main credit agencies: Equifax 1-800-525-6285; Experian 1-888-397-3742; and TransUnion 1-800-680-7289.
- Ask for your current credit reports, and call the Federal Trade Commission to report the theft.
- The Identity Theft Report will help you to solve your problems with credit reporting companies, debt collectors, and with businesses that extended credit to the identity thief or businesses where the thief opened new accounts in your name.
- Keep a record of all your efforts, with dates and contacts. This applies to calls and letters, both mailed and electronic.
- Make a list of delivery dates for documents, follow-ups and such.
- Place an extended fraud alert in your credit report. With an extended fraud alert you can get two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three credit agencies. An extended fraud alert remains in place for seven years.
- Verify all the information in your credit report and correct any mistakes like incorrect names, addresses, telephone numbers, employment data, social security, etc.
- Ask the affected merchants for copies of any documents that the identity thief used to open a new account or to make charges on your behalf.
- Contact the fraud department of each business that has reported a fraudulent transaction on your existing accounts, and follow their instructions to eliminate the fraudulent transactions and information.
- Change all your passwords.
- Make a request to the credit reporting companies and businesses to block the disputed information, so that it does not appear on your credit reports.
Although the situation is frustrating, remember to be kind, patient and courteous with the people you talk to over the phone. As the saying goes, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
Want more information about Identity Theft? Look no further!
- What is identity theft?
- How can your identity be stolen?
- Signs of Identity Theft
- Preventing Identity Theft
- Protecting Children from Identity Theft
Here are some other sites you can visit for more information: