How to Report Identity Theft

If you are the victim of an identity theft, report the incident as soon as you possibly can. If you act quickly, you will potentially be able to limit some of the damage that could be done. Here are the basics of how to report identity theft effectively.

Notify the Authorities

The first thing that you will need to do when you discover that someone has committed identity theft is to notify the authorities. You need to call the police in your local area immediately and tell them what went on. Many police departments are not going to have a specific report that they can file for identity theft. However, they may have a miscellaneous report that can be filed in this case. When you file the report, make sure that you get a copy of the report or at least the case number.

In addition to calling the police, you will want to contact the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of protecting consumers, and they do offer assistance in identity theft cases. They will not investigate your case directly, but they will pass your information along to the proper authorities.

Contact Financial Institution

You will also need to contact the financial institution that the identity theft occurred with. For example, if someone used your debit card to purchase something with funds in your bank account, you need to contact your bank to inform them about what is happening. Most of the time, a financial institution will have a fraud or identity theft department that you will be able to speak with. They will ask several questions about the situation in order to determine the best way to help you. At that point, they may find it necessary to deactivate your existing debit card and issue you a new one. This way, the thief will no longer be able to access your account. If they believe that your account number was compromised, they will also recommend getting a new account number. Whenever you talk with someone at the financial institution, ask them if they can send you a copy of the report. You will also want to take notes of exactly what was said in your conversation so that you can refer back to them later.

Tell Other Financial Institutions

If you have other financial institutions that you believe could be affected by this identity theft, you need to notify them in advance. Let them know that someone has stolen important information regarding your identity and that they might have information about your account with them.

Credit Bureaus

You should also take the necessary steps to report this identity theft to the credit bureaus. You will want to make sure that you report this to Equifax, Experian and Transunion. They will place a fraud alert on your account for you so that creditors will be very cautious when issuing additional credit on your accounts. 

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