Identity Theft

How to know if your identity was stolen, and what to do about it.

Identity theft is one of those things that we believe will never happen to us. Like failing to back up your computer, most of us may not consider the danger until it’s too late. But figuring out that your identity has been stolen is not always immediately obvious.

How can you tell if your identity is stolen? Here are the most common ways:
• You noticed withdraws from your bank account.
• You start getting calls about unknown debt from collectors.
• You get a medical bill for a procedure you did not have.
• There are credit card accounts on your credit report that you do not have.
• The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed using your social security number.

Here are a few things you can do if you think your identity has been stolen.

1. Call the Credit Reporting Agencies
Each of the credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—have their own fraud departments. You should call them and report your issue. They will place a fraud alert on your account, which will prevent anyone from opening a new account in your name.

2. Contact your Financial Institution and Insurance Company
Contacting your bank and insurance company will ensure that any future money or benefits will be used by anyone that is not actually you. Their fraud departments will also help to resolve any old, questionable transactions. Though, they may close your accounts and open new ones for you, in order to close access to old account numbers and PIN numbers.

3. Call Credit Card Companies
Contact the fraud department of any credit card you currently hold and let them know your identity was stolen. They will help you resolve any old, unwarranted charges that may have taken place, and they will block any future questionable charges. They may also close your current credit account, and open a new one, in order to invalidate the old credit card numbers.

4. Understand Your Risk
Knowledge is the best defense. Understanding identity theft and how it is done will help you understand if you are at higher risk. Come to our free workshop, which will include more information about identity theft, understanding all your options, and how to protect yourself.

Understanding identity theft and how it happens is the best way to prevent it from happening to you.