6 Steps to Saying Goodbye to an Identity Theft

Have you become the victim of identity theft? If so, you have a problem on your hands.

1 - Call companies involved in the fraud.

Many companies have a fraud department that you can get in touch with, whether you are dealing with a credit-card company or a bank. You need to explain the details of the identity theft and ask these companies to freeze all accounts associated with your name.

2 - Change passwords and other login information.

Your login name, password, and any personal identification numbers must be changed immediately. Otherwise, the thief will be able to log in and make additional changes to your accounts.

3 - Place a fraud alert with all major credit bureaus.

The three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, will place 90-day fraud alerts on your accounts. Simply place a fraud alert with one bureau to see a change with the others as well. This fraud alert will be free, and you should receive confirmation via the mail. You should also get a look at a free credit report to ensure everything is in order.

4 - Report theft to IdentityTheft.gov.

An online form will ensure that you are able to report as many details as possible. The website will help you establish a plan of recovery. This will also help you create an affidavit.

5 - Report identity theft to your local police department.

The police department will collect your identity-theft affidavit and proof of your address. You should bring any evidence of theft to the police department, including notices from the IRS and bills you have received in the mail. Make sure that you collect a copy of the police report.

6 - Send your identity-theft report to businesses involved.

This allows you to prove that somebody has stolen your identity and may give you rights to close accounts opened in your name. It is essential that you close these accounts as soon as possible to prevent additional fraud. In the meantime, ensure that you are keeping tabs on exactly who you talk to and when. When you speak to these businesses, you should ask how you can remove fraudulent charges from your accounts and clear your name.

Once these steps are complete, you have the opportunity to get in touch with the credit bureaus and ensure that you make the necessary corrections. You may be asked to provide proof of the crime.