Stolen or lost personal information can be a scary experience. You are not just scared about replacing your cards, but you also have to worry about others misusing your personal information and engaging in crimes under your name. Your personal data can get stolen or lost if, for instance, your purse or wallet was stolen from you; you responded to a questionable email that turned out to be a phishing email, or someone called you that your bank encountered a security breach and needs some of your information and you carelessly provided.
These are not unusual occurrences. As a matter of fact, it happens every hour, and every year, 14 million Americans fall prey to these evils. If you are, in any case, in this scenario, there are specific steps that you can take to detect if certain individuals have maliciously used your information quickly. When you can prove that ill-usage has taken place, it is always prudent that you put a scam alert on your credit report as soon as possible.
If it is certainly true that your bank encountered a security breach, more often than not, they would offer free credit monitoring services to their customers whose identities might be in danger of identity theft. You should accept this offer since credit monitoring services provided by legitimate and reputable companies can easily help you catch identity theft if it is already taking place.
On the other hand, if you can prove that your identity has been stolen and used with ill-disposed intent, here’s are the things that you need to do:
- Call the fraud department of the company where the identity theft occurred. Explain that someone stole your identity and register your complaint. Ask them to provide you with an email confirming the ‘registration’ of the complaint.
- Ask the fraud department of the company to freeze or close the accounts. Then, no one can make any withdrawals until and unless you give permission.
- Quickly change passwords, logins, and pins for all your accounts.
Additionally, call the credit bureau and put a fraud alert on your credit reports. The three major credit card agencies often have a toll-free number that customers can use to reach them. You need to call them and place a fraud alert on your name so that any variations in your credit status will be double-checked and strictly monitored. It would help if you also asked for a replica of your credit reports, and you need to evaluate each entry. Make sure that all your personal information is correct and anything recorded below can be well accounted for. If you do not know the toll-free number for each credit bureau, you can always try google searching them.
When asking for a credit report, demand that only the last four digits of your social security number be reflected in your account. This will prevent any further attempts to hijacking your identity. Check out firms that have made interrogations on you that you did not contact. These may simply be done by the identity thief that has your data. Also, evaluate if there are new accounts that have been opened without your permission and new debts that have been procured under your name. If there are any discrepancies, immediately relay this to the credit bureau involved. Do not just make a phone call; write them a formal letter describing why you are contradicting that particular entry in your report.