Identity theft is something that most of us think about at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, identity theft is something that is way more common than we think. It affects 1 in 3 Americans at some point in their lives. 1 in 3. Those are not great odds, my friend. So, it becomes extremely important to learn what to do if this happens to you.
There are a few simple steps to take once you realize you have been a victim of identity theft. Breaking these steps down into small tasks makes the tragedy of identity theft much more manageable. The biggest thing to do once you realize you have been a victim of identity theft is to remove identity theft from your credit report.
Here are the steps to take to remove it from your credit report once and for all:
- File a report with the credit agencies
- Alert the police
- Dispute fraudulent accounts
- Dispute fraudulent transactions
- Place a fraud alert/credit freeze
File a report with the credit agencies:
The biggest step in getting fraudulent transactions removed from your credit report is by telling the credit agencies themselves! The three main credit agencies, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax can all be alerted of identity theft by sending a letter in the mail.
This is great because once reported, you will have a report for your records indicating you were a victim of identity theft.
Alert the police:
Letting law enforcement know that you were a victim of identity theft is very important as well. Though it may not result in removing the effects of identity theft off of your credit report it will, again, provide a paper trail of the incident.
Here is some additional information on why it is so important to file a police report when you have been a victim of identity theft.
Dispute fraudulent accounts:
Identity thieves sometimes like to open new accounts in their victim’s names. Yep, they become dissatisfied with the amount they are able to steal and take their criminal acts to the next level.
Once you determine which accounts were opened fraudulently, you can go straight to the banks or creditors and dispute the accounts that were opened fraudulently in your name. Cancel debit or credit cards, and notify the banks of the identity theft on your credit report.
Dispute fraudulent transactions:
Disputing fraudulent transactions can be a tedious task. Oftentimes, identity thieves run up tons of bills in your name with many different transactions. Be sure to request statements from your bank so you can break down every transaction you do not recognize.
It may be beneficial to get a printout of bank statements and bills and highlight all fraudulent transactions, so you can make sure every transaction gets properly reported.
Place a fraud alert and credit freeze:
Make sure no one else can attempt to open accounts in your name. A great way to do this is to place a fraud alert and credit freeze on your accounts.
You can place a fraud alert by contacting one of the three main credit bureaus. If you place a fraud alert at one credit bureau, it will by default, alert the other two.
Experian provides some great information on how to place a credit freeze. You can call or send notifications by mail to the main credit bureaus. A credit freeze means that no one can complete a credit inquiry without your personalized PIN number.
So, be diligent in reporting the fraud on your credit report, and over time, your credit report will bounce back.
For assistance with credit repair and building your credit score, contact Credit Absolute for a free consultation. 480-478-4304