You see a lot of information out there on how to prevent getting your identity stolen. But what you do when your identity is already stolen?
The key here is to minimize the damage the negative effects that occur with identity theft – and that means you have to work quickly. You need to contact the appropriate financial agencies as soon as possible so they can freeze your accounts and give you numbers. This will stop the criminal act as soon as possible.
– Credit card company
– The three credit bureaus
There are always financial specialists at your bank, who are monitoring your credit card use, they will often notice transactions that are abnormal and not in keeping with your spending habits. In most cases they will notify you by phone. They will call asking if you spend a certain amount of money at a certain store. If you have, then simply confirm expenditure. Otherwise, let them know that you have not made the purchase.
When you report your card has been stolen you minimize your liability, and at most, you’ll only have a $50 out of pocket expense.
Problems arise when you don’t inform your credit card company of the loss. In this case you would be held responsible for any unauthorized purchase.
If your debit card for your checks or stolen, there are laws that also protect you. You must report card missing within two days of realizing the loss. If you do this, you will be accountable for up to $50 of the charge.
If you forget to report the card is missing within this allotted time, you can be held accountable for up to $500 of the unauthorized charges, and if you do not report an unauthorized withdrawal within 60 days, there is no limit to the damage you will be held accountable. When you lose your checkbook reported to the bank, close your account and open a new account.
Call up the credit bureaus to check and see if any new accounts are open, or if any charges are made. Call up the company that has reported the information and explain the situation. They will remove this information for you. You can also choose to freeze your reports so no one has access to them while you clear up the fraud.
Most financial institutions require you to file a report with the police agency. This offers a record of the identity theft. It also gives you proof to show when and if unauthorized financial transactions take place after the incident.