Identity theft is an issue that has become more common since the digital age has bristled and bloomed. Many people are victims of phishing scams – an online predator steals your identity by impersonating a respectable institution and takes your sensitive information, financial information being stolen from non-secured sites, hacking or good, old-fashioned credit card theft, to name a few. Every form of identity theft can lead to severely damaging credit reports and scores, and may affect whether or not you’re able to purchase your next home.
Are you a victim of identity theft?
What should you do if you think you’ve been targeted for identity theft?
Freeze Your Credit
Send a Fraud Alert
Check Your Credit Report
Talk to the Debt Collectors
If someone has taken advantage of your credit and your identity, there’s a good chance you’ll be receiving some information from debt collectors; especially if you were unaware that the debt was being racked up in the first place. The best thing to do is give them a call and find out exactly which debt they’re collecting on, who they’re acting on behalf of and get any other information that may pertain to your identity being stolen.
File a Report
Identity theft is a heavy crime and should be reported to the police immediately. After reporting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and getting your report, be sure to have an official government ID with photograph, all current mailing information and any other reports that you’ve collected stating that your identity has been stolen.
Many Americans are afflicted by identity theft every year. Once the issue has been halted and is monitored carefully, you may want to start rebuilding. Request a new card from your credit card company and bank. Keep an eye on those accounts, protect yourself by taking the extra security measures of shopping on secured sites, requesting verification from anyone asking you for sensitive information and checking your credit activity often. This will lower your chances of undergoing a second attack.