So you find out somehow you’ve been victimized by an identity thief. Maybe your bank notified you of an outrageous charge on your account or you receive an email one day from a company thanking you for a purchase you didn’t make. Nonetheless, someone used your personal information (email, credit card, bank account, ect) for financial gain.
How do you recover from having your identity stolen? There are specific steps you need to take when someone violates your personal information, especially if they have stolen large amounts of money or opened bogus accounts in your name.
It’s unfortunate to fall prey to identity theft, but you can recover. Here are seven steps to take after identity theft to get your life back on track:
- Change passwords of all affected accounts such as email, bank login, ect. Depending on the severity of the security breech you will want to close an account completely and start over (ie: credit and debit card accounts.)
- Notify your bank of cases of stolen identity immediately no matter how small. Sometimes thiefs like to charge a small amount to your credit or debit card just to see if it works before they make larger purchases.
- If you know which company erroneous charges originated from contact them and alert them of the identity theft as well. Do this as quickly as possible.
- Call the local police and file a police report. A report is often necessary to become eligible for a 7-year credit freeze from one of the three credit bureaus at no cost.
- Complete an Identity Theft Victims’ Complaint and Affidavit on the Federal Trade Commission website.
- Check your credit from all 3 credit bureaus to catch any other potential fraud.
- Place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit account so you will be alerted to anyone trying to establish credit in your name in the future.
Be diligent in filing reports, changing passwords, and canceling accounts soon after you find evidence of theft. These steps may not be enough to protect you from further identity theft in the future, but following them will make it harder for someone to unlawfully access and ruin your credit or financial standing.
In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at http://renursing.wordpress.com.