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How to Report Identity Theft
If you’ve noticed any unusual activity in your credit report lately, or if you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, your first step should be to immediately place a fraud alert. You can place a fraud alert by contacting one of the credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (contact information below). This will alert the various credit agencies that suspicious activity has taken place, and will make it harder for an identity thief to open any new accounts in your name. While the initial fraud alert will stay on your report for 90 days, it may not be enough to prevent or protect your personal information.
After placing a fraud alert, here’s what you should do next:
- Immediately close any and all accounts you think were compromised to reduce further damage. The most important thing to remember here is time: the sooner you report identify theft, the less damage you’re likely to receive.
- After you’ve closed your accounts, your next step is to file an official police report in the area where the identity theft took place. Be sure to keep a copy of the police report in case your creditors need proof of the crime.
- Your third and final step should be to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
What to Do Next
After successfully reporting identity theft, your next step is to review your credit report from each credit reporting agency. You’re entitled to one free credit report per credit reporting agency per year. As each agency will have a slightly different report, it’s important that you check all three to make sure that no additional fraudulent activity is taking place.
While some cases of identity theft are unavoidable, others aren’t. In order to help protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take. See under the related links below for more information on how to prevent identify theft.
You can also keep a closer eye on your credit with CreditMessenger™, a tool that helps you proactively monitor, manage and protect your valuable credit and identity information. This comprehensive service provides protection unlike any other by helping you detect and respond quickly to fraudulent activities. A few benefits include:
- 24/7 credit monitoring. Any time your credit changes, a credit alert will be directly emailed to you.
- Identity theft protection. Receive up to $25,000 in reimbursement for identity theft.
- Fraud resolution services. CreditMessenger’s 24/7 Fraud Resolution Service will help clean up your credit report when you experience identity theft.
Identity theft isn’t something you should ignore. If you feel your financial information is at risk, take action immediately.