Even if you take steps to protect against identity theft, there’s no guarantee you won’t become a victim in the future.
If you find that your identity has been stolen, here are some immediate steps to take:
- Lock the account: For example, if you notice unauthorized charges on your credit card, contact the financial institution to dispute the charges and lock your account for the time being.
- Review your credit report: There’s always a chance you’ll spot something suspicious on your credit report, such as a credit card account you didn’t open. If this happens, contact the reporting agency to file a dispute.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission: Not only does this leave a paper trail associated with the identity theft, but it also provides you with advice for recovering and related documents.
- Request a fraud alert on your credit reports: Contact all three credit bureaus to request a fraud alert, as this notifies financial institutions that pull your credit to take extra care.
- Sign up for credit monitoring: There are various credit monitoring services that can alert you of trouble, typically before you’d find it on your own.
Everyone is at risk of identity theft, so don’t turn a blind eye to the things you can do to protect yourself.
If you find that your identity has been stolen, take the steps above and then consider what you can do to restore your credit and your good name. Also, don’t hesitate to learn more about your legal rights and the best way to take action against the responsible party.