Being a victim of identity theft is a violation of your privacy in the worst possible way. Identity theft occurs when a person physically poses as you or drains your bank account by stealing your information online. When it comes to protecting your identity, remember that the key is to make sure you are stingy with all your personal information. The hardest part is to understand that things will get better and life is not over.
As a victim of identity theft, there are a number of things you should do right away to ensure that your identity and good name will be restored. Following is a list of steps that you need to take to restore your identity.
- File a police report with the Santa Ana Police Department or your local law enforcement agency.
- Call your bank, credit card accounts as well as the social security office and have a fraud alert and credit freeze placed on those accounts to ensure that an identity thief cannot open new accounts in your name.
- Obtain your credit report to check for any unauthorized activity, and since you are a victim of identity theft it is free.
- Remove unwanted and unauthorized activity from your credit report. The law is on your side as long as you file a police report.
- Send a letter to the credit bureaus explaining what information on your credit report is fraudulent. Provide a formal statement that you did not authorize the charges. You should also send in a copy of your driver’s license, social security card and proof of address. Keep in mind that restoring your identity will take time, so don’t give up. For more information on removing and blocking fraudulent activity on your credit report visit http://www.idtheft.gov/probono/docs/III.A.%20Blocking%20Credit%20Reports%20Sec%20605B.pdf
- Notify credit card companies of fraudulent activity. Send each credit card company a letter disputing the charges the identity thief incurred. For a copy of the letter, visit http://www.idtheft.gov/probono/docs/C.5.%20Credit%20Card%20Issuer%20Obligations%20Under%20the%20FCBA.pdf
- Send a letter to debt collectors within 30 days after receiving written notice of the debt. Debt collectors have 5 days to notify you of any charges, so make sure that you dispute the unauthorized activity with not just with the debt collector but also by notifying the credit reporting agencies that the debt is fraudulent.
Repairing your credit after identity theft requires you to be diligent, so do not give up. If you are a resident of Santa Ana or elsewhere and you feel that you are unable to begin to restore your identity on your own, you might want to contact a local Santa Ana attorney. You can also get free counseling and other support from the Identity Theft Resource Center by visiting http://www.idtheftcenter.org/index.html
As always, thank you for your visit today as it is much appreciated. Please feel free to leave a comment and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest updates on identity theft.
FTC (2013). Guidebook for assisting identity theft victims Federal trade commission. Retrieved from http://www.idtheft.gov/probono/docs/i.%20Table%20of%20Contents.pdf