Identity theft is becoming much more commonplace. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans experience some form of identity theft each year. If you are a victim of this crime, you should take the following steps:
1. Contact your financial planner (Crimmins Wealth Management) and all financial institutions where you have accounts to notify them. Make sure to document your conversation with each representative.
2. Place a free one-year initial fraud alert on your credit report with one of the 3 credit reporting agencies. Once you have placed a fraud alert with one of the agencies, that agency must automatically send a request to the other two bureaus to do the same, so you do not have to contact all three. You can renew the fraud alert after one year. If you provide each credit bureau with proof that you are a victim of identity theft, they can add an Extended Fraud Alert to your file which will remain in place for 7 years.
· Equifax (equifax.com)
· Experian (experian.com)
· TransUnion (transunion.com)
3. File a report with your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov).
4. Change all your account PINs and online passwords (including your email accounts).
5. Contact the Social Security Administration to notify them. Confirm they have your correct contact information.
6. Call your local post office to alert them and confirm they have your correct name and mailing address.
7. Review your monthly bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity.
8. If there is any fraudulent activity on an account, immediately call the vendor to notify them and dispute the bill. Do not pay the bill.
The best way to prevent identity theft is to guard your personal information from the start. Remember to use a shredder for personal financial information.
Hope you have a great week!
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