Thursday 5 December 2013

Are you a Victim of Identity Theft? Six Things you Must do to Restore your Record

Identity theft not only happens at an alarming rate, it can ruin an individual’s credit and their record for years on end if not taken care of immediately. For those that have recently fallen victim to this devastating crime, here are six essential steps that must be taken to restore one’s record as quickly as possible.

1. Create a File on the Process
When it comes to what you need to know about identity theft, the first and perhaps most important step is to record everything that takes place. From phone calls with banks, to illegal transactions, victims should record the time, date, and a description of what took place for future reference. If you get any letters in the mail about people applying for credit or filing tax returns in your name, make a copy and save all letters in a file.

2. Freeze Bank Cards
For most, the criminal will first attempt to access their bank account as the easiest way to acquire funds. The primary bank should be contacted with all cards and account numbers being frozen with new ones issued. Most banks and credit cards have protections set into place to help you if this does happen. Generally, they will be able to cancel any pending transactions and work on refunding any purchases that were not made by you. Keep a close eye on your accounts to monitor for any suspicious activity.

Check-In with Other Financial Institutions
Banks may offer the easiest access to cash, but criminals can wreak havoc with any financial account. All victims should also contact any credit cards they utilize, business accounts, and retirement funds as well. Make creditors aware that someone may have your personal information so that they can make note of this on your account and verify with you any transactions.

Contact Credit Bureaus and Law Enforcement Agencies
There are three primary credit bureaus including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These three organizations maintain fraud departments that will immediately stop reporting on an individual in the event of a stolen identity. Both the FTC and local law enforcement agencies should also be contacted in order to submit reports.

Utilize Credit Repair Specialists
For those that would like to simplify this entire process, a credit repair business may be the number one option. Not only will these specialists carry out many of these steps, they can also provide options once the rebuilding period has begun. They can monitor your credit for you, so that any dings to your credit that weren't your fault can be taken care of immediately.

Request Credit and Criminal History Regularly
After everything else has been taken care of and all specialists, credit bureaus, and financial organizations have been contacted, the work is not quite over. Those that have their identity stolen will also want to ensure that the problem has been completely solved by checking in every three months with both their credit information and criminal history to check for any illegal use of their name or account. Even if you get all the current problems taken care of, someone else still has your personal information, so there is the possibility that someone will try to use it again.

From the moment that anyone realizes that their identity has been stolen, it is time to take action. Each of these agencies, organizations, and specialists will help minimize the damage that is done and help get one’s life back in order. It's best to act as soon as possible, as preventing the damage is easier than fixing damage that is already done. Know that you can get your good reputation back after your identity has been stolen, but you'll need to take the proper steps to do so.

Do you have have any questions or suggestions? Write in comment section.

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