What to do When You’re Identity is Stolen

by Mark Wong on November 28, 2009 · 0 comments

in Personal Finance

Having your identity stolen is a common occurrence these days, and the problem is only getting worse. The government is being extremely lenient towards credit agencies, in an attempt to grease the wheels of the economy. Thus, consumer rights and consumer protection all take a back seat to America’s corporate interests. If you ever fall victim to an identity thief, this is what you need to do:

Identity Theft

Call all of your financial institutions and put a hold on all of your financial accounts

This is somewhat of a no-brainer. Make sure to do this with all your accounts until the situation is clear, as you likely have your savings, checking, and investment accounts linked in some fashion.

Close all accounts with proven fraudulent activity

If the account is compromised, it’s no good to you anymore. Right now, some meth-head from the boonies is using your information – tomorrow it’ll probably be a Nigerian princess. I know it’s a huge hassle, but cut your losses, close the account and start fresh with a new one.

Contact the Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline

Call the SSA at 800-269-0271 to report any and all fraudulent activity you’ve noticed. I’ve always thought it was strange why the government allowed a single nine digit number to have so much power over our lives. But that’s why calling the SSA is so important.

Contact all three credit reporting agencies

Equifax: 800-525-6285
Experian: 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-680-7289

The agencies work like our government does; they don’t necessarily share information with one another. Therefore, you’ll unfortunately have to contact all three. Do so and make sure you’re next credit report takes into account the fraudulent activity.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission

The FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline is 877-IDTHEFT. Giving them a call and providing them details about your incident will hinder future efforts by the identity thief.

File a police report

Within your local jurisdiction, file a police report and make sure to keep the both the report number and the name of the officer who took your information. Again, this is a government entity, so you’re going to have to do most of the legwork.

Photo Credit: B Rosen

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