Money Talks, So Should You

Q&A: What should I do if I'm a victim of ID theft?

Robin Kuleck
by Robin Kuleck, The Garrett Network  (@robinkuleck)

As a suspected victim of identity theft, it is imperative that you take immediate action to minimize the potential damage to your credit and good name.

Call one of the three national credit bureaus to request a fraud alert be placed on your credit report – they will then contact the other two bureaus who will do the same.

TransUnion 1-800-680-7289, Equifax 1-800-525-6285, Experian 1-888-497-3742.

READ: 4 tips to prevent identity theft

A 90-day-long fraud alert increases the difficulty for an identity thief who tries to open new accounts in your name.

An extended alert can be requested after you follow the three-step process to create an Identity Theft Report.

  1. File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) online or by phone 1-877-438-4338.
  2. Get a hard copy of your complaint (FTC affidavit) that outlines your report of identity theft.
  3. Take the FTC identity theft affidavit to your local police department to file a report.

The FTC affidavit and the police report or report number comprises your Identity Theft Report, which will be necessary to use in disputing information with companies where accounts have been fraudulently opened in your name.

READ: Should I freeze my credit to prevent identity theft?

A final step is to request and review your credit report from all three national credit bureaus. Identity theft victims are entitled to one free copy from each credit reporting company.

Carefully read each report for any errors including accounts or debts you do not recognize. It is up to you to work with the security or fraud department of each company that has fraudulent information about you to get that information corrected.

Your Identity Theft Report plays a crucial role in dealing with one of the fastest growing crimes in America.

You can learn more here.

 

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Robin Kuleck is the owner of Kuleck Financial Planning, an independent financial planning firm. She holds a Masters Degree in Home Economics Education from Mansfield University. She's met the Certified Financial Planner Board’s rigorous standards and earned the right to use the CFP® certification marks in her practice.