January 4, 2011

A Must Do List for Identity Theft Victims

If you’re a victim of identity theft, it’s essential to take certain steps as soon as possible, to start repairing the damage. At the same time, begin to keep a record of all conversations and copies of all correspondences. There are six things you should do right away:

Fraud Alert

Placing a fraud alert on your credit reports will prevent a thief from opening any additional accounts in your name. Although there are three credit reporting agencies, you only need to call one of them:

Equifax 1-800-525-6285
Experian 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion 1-800-680-7289

Review Your Credit Reports

Request them from all three agencies and review them very carefully. Look for accounts you didn’t open, debt that isn’t yours, and inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted. Verify everything and begin the process of removing any fraudulent or inaccurate information.

Close Tempered Accounts

Call immediately and follow up with letters, including copies of your supporting documents. Also, send the letters by certified mail so you know they received it. Keep records of everything.

Fraudulent Charges

Dispute fraudulent charges on your credit card accounts or debit cards. Call the company to find out what their process is and where to send correspondence. Don’t send it to the billing address. Once it’s resolved, get it in writing.

Federal Trade Commission

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Go online at ftc.gov or call their hotline at 1-877-438-4338. The information will be used to help law enforcement officials track the criminals and stop them.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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