November 21, 2017
 
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Identity Theft What Victims Should Do

If you’re a victim of identity theft, it’s essential to take certain steps as soon as possible, to start repairing the damage. At the same time, begin to keep a record of all conversations and copies of all correspondences. There are six things you should do right away:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will prevent a thief from opening any additional accounts in your name. Although there are three credit reporting agencies, you only need to call one of them:

Equifax           1-800-525-6285

Experian         1-888-397-3742

TransUnion    1-800-680-7289

 

2. Review your credit reportsRequest them from all three agencies and review them very carefully. Look for accounts you didn’t open, debt that isn’t yours, and inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted. Verify everything and begin the process of removing any fraudulent or inaccurate information.

 

3. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, has been tampered with. Call immediately and follow up with letters, including copies of your supporting documents. Also, send the letters by certified mail so you know they received it. Keep records of everything.

 

4. Begin the process of disputing fraudulent charges on your credit card accounts or debit cards. Call the company to find out what their process is and where to send correspondence. Don’t send it to the billing address. Once it’s resolved, get it in writing.

 

5. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Go online at ftc.gov or call their hotline at 1-877-438-4338. The information will be used to help law enforcement officials track the criminals and stop them.

 

6. File a report with your local police. Bring all your supporting documents. If they’re reluctant to take the report, check with your state’s Attorney General Office.

 

These things are definitely time consuming and may seem overwhelming, but they’re crucial in order to protect yourself from further damage. For more details, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at ftc.gov and click on Avoid ID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend.

 

 

 

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