Steps to Overcome Identity Theft

Steps to Overcome Identity Theft

What to do if you’re the victim of identity theft.

Last year, Americans lost $23 billion due to identity fraud. That’s a 13 percent increase from the previous year. In other words, identity theft is rising rapidly. If you become a victim, it helps to know what to do next.

How to Recover After Identity Theft

Here are some steps to take:

1. Contact Companies 

The first thing you should do if you’re the victim of identity theft is to contact every impacted company.

  • If someone has made fraudulent charges to a credit card, contact the lender.
  • If someone has used your Social Security number, contact the IRS.
  • If someone has used your debit card or accessed your savings, contact your bank or credit union.
  • You should also close any accounts that have been compromised.

2. Notify the Federal Trade Commission

While the FTC doesn’t have the ability to prosecute criminals, you should report your case to the agency so it can use the information to prevent further thefts. The FTC makes it easy too — just head to and fill out the required information.

3. Place an Alert or Freeze on Your Credit Accounts

If your identity is stolen, you’ll also want to contact all three credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

Fraud Alert will stay on your credit reports for one year. With the fraud alert in place, a creditor will be notified that it needs to take extra steps to verify any credit pulls or loan requests.

Credit Freeze. You can also place a credit freeze on your credit reports for an extra layer of protection. A freeze blocks anyone from accessing your credit without you removing the freeze.

Do One Thing: If you are the victim of identity theft, contact all agencies involved immediately. 

Chris O'Shea

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