Identity Theft Steps You Will Want To Take NOW
Going shopping? Cash? Or Credit?
Making yourself less visible and less exposed:
First Step: Put your phone on the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222. Allow 31 days for unwanted solicitations to stop. Notify the same number . if you change or add phones. And file complaints, if solicitors ignore the registry and call you after you are registered.
Second Step: Reduce your unwanted junk mail by going to https://www.dmachoice.org and following the simple instructions.
Third Step: Add a Consumer Credit Freeze to your credit file by contacting Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, and also review any new credit accounts or requests for credit that you did not initiate.
Fourth Step: Get your free (once a year) credit report for this year by going to www.annualcreditreport.com and check it for inaccurate items and have them corrected.
Fifth Step: Check your recent credit card statements for any suspicious charges and verify them with your credit card company. Contest any invalid charges.
Sixth Step: Check with the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov to insure that no one is fraudulently using your social security number.
Seventh Step: Check with your state's attorney general's office for free information on how to further protect your credit and better prevent identity theft happening to anyone in your family, including your children, no matter how young they are.
Eighth Step: Do routine checks of recent purchases on your credit cards by calling the cards' toll free numbers and checking your accounts. Be sure to notify the issuing companies as soon as you realize a card is lost or missing.
Ninth Step: Realize that any debit card is at heightened risk compared to credit cards. Contact your bank and set up a separate account for any debit card to limit your financial exposure to a certain amount of liability.
Tenth Step: Take steps within your household to make preventing identity theft a real priority. Make sure that documents with personal information such as Social Security numbers, account numbers, and other identifying information is properly secured, shredded before throwing away, and never shared inappropriately with anyone.
What if you become a victim of identity theft?
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, contact local law enforcement and intiate a report, know who else to contact immediately and how to proceed by starting a file, contacting all the financial institutions you deal with and closing any affected accounts. Contact one or all of the credit report agencies and initiate a fraud alert and a possible credit freeze for your protection going forward, while you go about reestablishing your credit.
A secure home is a happy home. Protect against theft.
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