Five Steps to Take to Handle Identity Theft

June 13, 2017 Published by

One of the scariest discoveries in the world is finding out your identity has been stolen. The typical immediate response is to freak out and begin checking all your finances to see if anything has taken out in your name or taken from your accounts. We wouldn’t blame you for panicking, but it’s important to take the next steps in protecting yourself from further harm. If you become a victim, here’s how you should handle identity theft.

1) Place a Fraud Report on Your Credit Cards

A fraud alert places a red flag on your credit report and alerts lenders and creditors to take extra precautions in verifying your identity before extending you credit. Of the three credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — you only need to contact one since that agency will notify the other two. Obtain a copy of your credit report, check it for fraudulent items, and try to dispute any that you can.

2) Contact Your Company Directly

If you know your credit card was stolen, call your credit card company. If your debit card or checkbook was stolen, call your bank. It’s helpful to have a list of what companies you have accounts with and the direct numbers needed to contact them. Important: Don’t write down passwords or pins — that’s just another way for your information to get stolen.

3) Contact the FTC

Create an Identity Theft Report by first filing an Identity Theft Affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. You can call them at 1-877-438-4338, 1-866-653-4261, or contact them by mail at 600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington D.C. 20580.

4) File a Police Report

Complete your ID Theft Report by filing a police report at your local precinct, and get a copy of both that report and your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. This report will help you work with credit reporting agencies and companies the thief may have opened accounts in your name in.

5) Protect Your Social Security Number

Even if you don’t have financial evidence yet, if you think your SSN could have been stolen, call the Social Security Administration at 800-269-0271 and the IRS at 800-829-0433. With your SSN, a thief could attempt to switch your tax refunds or get employment or health insurance in your name, so be proactive in protecting it.

While this is not an end-all, be-all list of steps to take to handle identity theft, you can search the U.S. Department of Justice for more information.

Protect yourself before you become a victim of identity theft, and contact Complete Shredding Solutions for all your document destruction needs in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and NYC. We securely shred your paper and media files to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. For more information or to schedule a service, call us at 516-442-1642.