Tips for Recovering From Identity Theft

by Lauren Beichner

Marketing Specialist

8.18.2016
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Articles

(For clarity, this post is about when one’s social security number is used by others to take out loans in your name – not plastic card fraud.)

Just type in the words “identity theft” in Google and you get upwards of 65 MILLION results. Type in “avoiding identity theft” and you get 530,000 results. Not quite as staggering as the initial search, but staggering nonetheless. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a report in March of this year indicating that more than 490,000 ID theft complaints were made in 2015. Again, astounding.

In previous blog posts, we have shared our own tips for protecting your identity so for this piece, we wanted to concentrate on advice for recovering from identity theft. Having your identity stolen is an unpleasant experience no matter how you look at it, but hopefully, our tips will help smooth the recovery process for you. So, let’s get started!

If you think you are a victim, here’s what to do –

Place a Fraud Alert

The important thing to note here is not to place only one fraud alert, but rather ensure you’ve placed an alert for all three reporting agencies. While Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three major agencies, not every creditor uses all three when determining your credit worthiness. So, make sure you’ve at least placed an alert on all three so not one is missing out on that critical information for potential creditors.

Get and Check Your Credit Reports

Consumers are entitled to a free credit report from the three major reporting agencies. Visiting each site to get the report is not necessary. Just click on over to annualcreditreport.com to obtain those reports.

Create an Identity Theft Report AND File a Police Report

The FTC wants you to inform them of any identity theft that you may experience. All you have to do is fill out the required information on their site and it will create an Identity Theft Affidavit for you. Print it out and take it with you to your local police station to then file a police report. Be sure to attach your Identity Theft Affidavit to your police report so that they too have it in their possession to assist with any investigation.

Dispute the Fraudulent Activity

You’ll want to then dispute each fraudulent account with each of the credit reporting agencies. It’s not as difficult as it sounds since each has an online method in which to do so. It may take some time, but it’s better to ensure each reporting agency has the most up-to-date and accurate information on your activity.

There are actually more steps in the process. Thankfully, the FTC has created a great step-by-step resource for you to follow.

For more information about recovering from identity theft, you can also visit Consumer.gov for a comprehensive guide of information right at your fingertips!

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