Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone’s identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother’s maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, taking over the victim’s financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and phone companies.
What to do if you become a victim:
Stop all transactions immediately. Call all of the financial institutions you bank with or have credit with and have them stop anyone from making further purchases.
Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. You can even freeze your credit report. This will stop any new activity but understand, you will not be able to obtain new credit until you unfreeze it.
Change all online passwords to accounts, email addresses, and any online stores.
Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a police report. Be sure you have copies of supporting documents showing any unauthorized transactions to accompany the report.
Request all Affidavit materials for disputing unauthorized charges from each financial institution where there was a transaction. Complete and return the materials along with the case numbers of any police reports.
Be sure to dispute any negative entries on your credit report that were a result of unauthorized charges. Provide supporting documentation as requested.
Continue to be diligent about monitoring your credit report, bank statements, and credit card statements for any additional activity.