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These steps provide a good first line of defense against identity theft but, unfortunately, they do not provide a guarantee. If you follow steps and still become a victim of identity theft, take action fast.
Important actions if you are victim of identity theft
The first step is to report it to authorities. Most companies have to have a police report or case number before they can work with you to undo damage. With report or number in hand, you will need to call all of your credit card issuers and advise them of what has happened so they can flag your account with a fraud investigation flag. Utilities and phone companies must be notified as well.
Be mindful that there are three credit reporting agencies that collect and compile information about your credit history and habits. You will need to inform at least one of them so that a fraud alert can be placed on your file. Once alert is placed first agency will inform other two bureaus to place alerts as well. You can choose an initial if you merely suspect identity theft and adopt a wait and watch approach or an extended alert if you are certain that you have been a victim of this crime.
You will also need to get a copy of your credit report and review its accuracy. Give particular attention to recent activity that does not seem familiar. Write and or call all of companies that report information related to your identity theft. Most credit card companies will only hold their customers responsible for up to $50 dollars in cases of theft, and most banks will replace stolen money pending verification.
Identity theft can make securing loans for home ownership or education impossible. It may even prevent employment with agencies that require a particular credit score. If you have been victim of identity theft it can take weeks or years and often quite a bit of time and money to undo damage. It makes sense that victims often feel angry, overwhelmed and discouraged. If you are victim of identity theft it’s very important to be proactive. When you act quickly you will minimize damage and loss by limiting unauthorized access to your sensitive account information.
Be sure to keep records of all activities and contacts related to your identity theft. You may also want to make periodic checks of your credit report and sign up for an account monitoring service, which immediately alerts you when inquiries to your credit report occur. Stay alert and keep aware.
Nicole Soltau is the President and Founder of http://CreditUnionRate.com - The Leading Credit Union Directory Search, Find ,Join.