More Than 40% Victims Don't Know The Correct Steps to Reporting Identity Theft
Technology has changed our lives forever. We can communicate with our loved ones at the click of a button. However, with increased digitalization comes a tremendous downside, identity theft.
From 2012 to 2016, The Federal Trade Commission’s online database of consumer complaints received 13 million complaints including 40% which were fraud-related and 13% which were related to identity theft complaints.
What Happens Next?
The truth is, 47% of most victims don't know the proper steps to report identity theft. We'll discuss that further in this article. But first, let's talk about why it's important to report identity theft. ID thieves can steal your identity in seconds using a variety of online and offline techniques. However, stealing isn’t the worst part. The actual trouble begins when the thieves use the stolen identity to commit financial fraud in your name or sell the sensitive information on the black market. As a result, an identity theft victim can suffer incomprehensible pain.
What to do Once You Realize Your Identity Has Been Stolen
1. Report Identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. If you report identity theft online, you will receive an identity theft report and a recovery plan. Create an account on the website in order to update your recovery plan, track your progress, and receive prefilled form letters to send to creditors. If you decide not to create an account, you need to print or save your identity theft report and recovery plan. Without an account, you won't be able to access them on the website in the future. Download the FTC's publication, Taking Charge - What to do if Your Identity is Stolen (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) for detailed tips, checklists, and sample letters.
2. Contact the Credit Bureaus
The first thing you need to do is to contact Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the three major credit bureaus, to place a fraud alert or ask for a complete credit freeze to mitigate the damages caused by ID theft. Initially, the fraud alert will last for 90 days.
3. Inform Your Lenders
At the same time, you also need to inform your lenders including bank, insurance company, investment firms, and private organizations
4. File Reports with FTC and Local Police
The best way to report ID theft is to download the Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit form from the FTC's website and lodge an online complaint.
5. Contact the Social Security Administration
If you are a US citizen, chances are identity thieves may also steal your Social Security Number (SSN). With a stolen SSN, the criminals can assume the real person’s name and do almost anything from obtaining a mortgage to committing a crime. You can call their Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271.
6. File a Police Report otify your local authorities of what’s happened, as well as law enforcement in areas where the fraudulent transactions occurred. Provide them with the ID theft affidavit you filed with the FTC and make sure you get a copy of the police report.
7. Sign up for an Identity Theft Protection Service
You can also register with an identity theft detection and recovery service provider. However, this isn't something you should do after the theft has taken place. Nevertheless, once you have managed to solve your identity theft crisis, be sure to protect you and your family with Identity theft Protection.
-Allyson White, CEO Alde Security Solutions, LLC.