In November’s Latest, we suggested some things that you could do to protect your identity. As a reminder, it was recommended that you:
- not reveal personal information to parties unknown to you
- review all your financial statements monthly
obtain virus protection for your computer
cancel your unused credit cards>
monitor your credit regularly by getting a credit report
consider an identity protection service
Of course, nothing is foolproof, and no matter what you do, you could still become a victim of identity theft. Though it is very frustrating and will take some time to remedy, if you do become a victim, all is not lost! Here are three things you should do first if your identity is stolen:
1. Call the Companies Where the Fraud Occurred – Most companies that provide credit will have a fraud department. You should explain that your identity was stolen and that you want your accounts closed or frozen. This way, no one can add new charges unless you agree. If you have online access, change your logins, passwords, and pins for your accounts.
2. Place a Fraud Alert and Get Your Credit Reports – To place a fraud alert on all three of the primary credit reporting bureaus, you must only contact one of the companies. They are required by law to let the other companies know of the theft. Putting on the alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. You should receive a confirmation letter from each bureau confirming your alert. Websites and toll-free phone numbers for the three bureaus are as follows:
In addition to the fraud alert, obtain your credit report from the agencies at annualcreditreport.com or call (toll-free) 1-877-322-8228. Carefully review your reports and make a note of any accounts you do not recognize.
3. Report your Identity Theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will provide you with resources to assist you in recovering your identity including creating an Identity Theft Report (which grants you certain rights) and a specific recovery plan. You can create an account with the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov, and you will be walked through the process step by step.
I certainly hope your identity has not been compromised. But if it has, all is not lost! I hope these tips will help you in the event it happens to you.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at 405.608.1903 or email@example.com if there is anything I can do for you.
Joey P. Root
President & CEO