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Additional Steps to Take
Once you have taken care of all immediate actions, there are a few more things you can do to continue to limit damage or recover from it. What you do next, including whom you contact, will depend on what personal information was stolen and how far reaching the theft's effects stretch.
Visit identitytheft.gov for specific information, sample letters to send, and contact links for various situations.
As you learn of any issues through your credit report or other avenues, respond quickly.
Close Fraudulent Accounts
- Call the fraud department of each business and ask for the account to be closed.
- As required send each business a copy of your Identity Theft Report and/or any completed dispute forms requested, along with a letter.
- Ask for a letter that confirms the accounts was fraudulent, that you are not liable for it, and that it was removed from your credit report.
Get Proof of Fraudulent Activity
- Ask businesses for copies of documents the identity thief used to open a new account or make a purchase in your name.
- Don't take no for an answer. Speak with a supervisor if necessary.
Get Rid of Fraudulent Charges
- Call the fraud departments of every bank or business to report all wrongful transactions.
- As required, send them copies of your Identity Theft Report and/or any completed dispute form, along with a letter.
- Request letters from them that confirm their removal of fraudulent charges.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Think About a Credit Freeze
- Also known as a security freeze, this is designed to restrict access to your credit report unless you temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze. A credit freeze makes it less likely that an identity thief can open a new account in your name. Be aware that a credit freeze can cause delays or other issues when you submit requests or applications that involve your credit report. Ask about such issues and weigh any concerns against your need for identity security.
- To place a credit freeze on your file, contact each of the credit reporting agencies. There may be small fees to place, lift or remove a freeze. It depends on your state law. Many states do not charge fees to identify theft victims. Ask your Attorney General's office about state laws and fees for credit freezes.
Correct Credit Report Errors
- Send a letter to the three credit reporting companies requesting all fraudulent information be blocked (removed).
- Enclose a copy of your Identity Theft Report, proof of your identity, and copies of documents that show the errors your letter is reporting.
Consider an Extended Fraud Alert
- An extended fraud alert lasts for seven years. Unlike an initial fraud alert, which says creditors should contact you before extending credit in your name, an extended fraud alert requires they do so using the contact information you provide when you place the extended alert. You also become entitled to two free copies of your credit report each year.
- If you choose to place one, send a letter of request and a copy of your Identity Theft Report to each of the three credit reporting agencies.
Look into Identity Theft Protection Services
Many companies, including credit reporting agencies, offer identity theft protection services, Iike NCCU's ID Safe Choice that is an option for our account holders. These are provided on a subscription basis for a fee. Generally, they help you monitor your accounts. Some provide other types of benefits. Basic credit monitoring services track your credit history, report on your credit score, provide alerts to suspicious activity, and may include other forms of assistance.
More comprehensive identity theft protection plans usually include credit monitoring activities as part of a package of services or benefits. These can include family coverage options, Internet scanning to look for misuse of personal information online, recovery assistance or insurance to cover reimbursement for certain identity theft related expenses.
Depending on your situation, you may wish to consider purchasing identity theft protection services. If so, be sure to look into various options and weight the pros and cons of each. Thoroughly research any company you consider. Make sure to read all of a company's fine print, including all legal information, policies and notices. Know exactly which services are provided, their limits and the costs involved.
Remember, these services primarily help you in monitoring. None can ensure the safety of your identity, or take the place of your own caution and oversight.
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