Don’t Panic: Unfortunately, this is too common of a practice. Your have rights, protection and you can regain your credit profile. Just recently, this happened to my son, and he followed the steps below:
1) Contact your credit card companies and banks and inform them of what has happened. Detail what you know, right away. And ask for help. Your credit card companies and banks will be part of the solution.
2) Place a “freeze” or fraud alert on your credit. Let lenders know that you may be a victim of fraud or you’re on active military duty, so they are encouraged to take extra steps to verify your identity before granting new credit. Placing a fraud alert or active-duty alert is free. Here are the 3 bureaus that you will want to contact:
i. Experian: http://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
ii. TransUnion: http://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
iii. Equifax: http://www.myequifax.com/consumer-registration
3) Review your credit report and look for additional fraudulent activity that you may have missed
4) File a formal identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
a. Call 1-877-438-4338 to speak to the FTC
b. Log into: https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/ to report the theft
5) Reach out to your local police department to file a police report
a. To file a police report with your local department, call the non-emergency line or stop in at the station.
b. You will need to have your identification, proof of residence, any proof you have of identity theft and your FTC report.
c. Finally, make sure to ask for a copy of the police report to keep for your records.
6) Run anti-virus software on your computers and mobile devices after your identity is stolen. It is important to run antivirus scans on your devices and check the safety of your home Wi-Fi to make sure there isn’t an opportunity for your personal information to get stolen again.
7) Change your passwords and change your habits to make sure you are safe from hackers.
a. Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters in length—the longer the better
b. Never use easily identifiable personal information in a password, such as a name, birthday, or anniversary
c. Include a variation of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
d. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
8) Focus on repairing your credit
a. Now that reports have been filed, institutions have been notified and your accounts are secure, it’s time to focus on repairing your credit
b. Get help, StreicherTeam is here for you
Additional steps of your Social Security Number has been compromised:
Your Social Security number is a valuable piece of information to identity thieves. It’s a key element of your identity and is also linked to taxes and credit information. And except in limited circumstances, it can’t be changed. That’s why it’s so worrisome to have your card lost or stolen.
1) Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271 if you believe your identity has already been used
2) Request a replacement card from the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration allows free card replacements; you are limited to three per year or 10 throughout your life (name changes and other exceptions don’t count). You can create a my Social Security account to request a replacement card if you:
a. Are a U.S. citizen age 18 or over with a U.S. mailing address
b. Are not requesting a name change or any other changes on your card
c. Have a driver’s license or state identification card from a participating state.
3) Call the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 908-4490 to report the theft and help prevent someone from submitting a tax return in your name.
4) Consider placing an extended fraud alert on your credit reports. It lasts for 7 years and requires lenders or creditors to verify your identity (in person or by phone at a number you provide) before opening new accounts or making changes to existing ones. An extended fraud alert also entitles you to two additional copies of your credit report from the three nationwide credit bureaus over the first year after the extended fraud alert is placed. Your name is removed from pre-screened credit card or insurance offers for 5 years.