to do when your identity is stolen
You have discovered
that someone has stolen your identity, and you are now on
the hook for bills charged up by someone else in your name.
What steps do you need to take to rectify this?
theft is quickly becoming a theft of choice by many theives,
incidences of identity theft have been rapidly rising. The
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has set up resources to assist
victims restore their credit.
First, you phone
the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline. Their toll free number is
1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Trained counsellors will take
the claim of your complaint and walk you through the steps
of how to contact baking institutions, deal with creditors
for debts made by the other person.
A new program developed
by the FTC is the ID Theft Affidavit, which is a legal form
which will assist you in resoring your credit. This is one
form you can use for contacting all businesses where an account
was opened in your name. You can download the ID
Theft Affidavit here.
You should get
copies of your credit report from all three credit reporting
agencies and scrutinize each one (it is free when you are
requesting a copy due to fraud; otherwise the charge is a
maximum of $9 per report). This will enable you to see what
has been opened against your name without your authorization.
Each credit buruea
will also place a fraud alert on your account, which will
alert any new creditors that they must contact you personally
before opening a new account. (For information on reporting
to the credit bureaus for fraud reasons, please see our article
Reporting Identity Theft
to the Credit Bureaus)
You will also want
to report the identity theft to your local police department.
They may launch an investigation depending on a range of factors
(amount of debts, possible suspects..) For help with filinf
a police report, see our article Reporting
Identity Theft to the Police)