- Personal Finance»
- Managing Credit Cards & Payment Options
If your Identity is Stolen, What is the First Thing you Should Do?
Did your wallet get stolen or did you start seeing unusual charges on your credit card? You may have gotten your identity stolen. In some cases, it may be best to get a lawyer, but this hub will tell you what you need to do in order to keep your finances (or what's left of them) safe.
Do Not Wait
The second you see any signs of your identity being stolen, take action. Many people wait to see if the activity persists. If you wait too long, it will be much harder to get your money back and you may have to forfeit some in order to move on.
The first thing you want to do when you suspect your identity was stolen is call the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271.
Also call the Identity Theft Hotline: 877-438-4338.
When you call, you will be offered a free credit report. Take it! You want to keep track of how this has affected your score.
You will also have the option to place a victim statement in your file. This is one way to disallow fraudulent activity to affect your credit score.
Call, Close, and Log
Get a notebook and write down the numbers, names of the people you spoke with, and any details of the phone calls you make. This will be helpful for organizing information as well as keeping track of who you talked to, when, and if there is any follow-up needed.
Call all of the banks that you have an account at and tell them that you have been a victim of identity fraud. Even if an account at a certain bank wasn't tampered with, you will want them to know just in case the jerk who stole your identity also took down your other information.
Calling your banks may be difficult if you don't have the right information. Make sure you have the right number and if you cannot get through because you don't know your card number or account number, call a different department. They will transfer you, but make sure to also write down the connecting number.
When you call your bank or other credit agencies, you may be asked to provide a case number. You should file a police report to obtain this number, but do not expect them to solve the case. This is simply a tactic used to prove that you are not the cause of fraudulent activity on your accounts.
Useful Phone Numbers and Websites
Analyzing your Credit Report
Once you get your free credit report, read it over and make sure all of the information is accurate. There may be some outdated information or added information. There is a chance that the thief may have added or edited some information to your report. Simply send the report back with edits and request a new one. (The new one should be free also due to fraudulent activity.)
Be sure to make copies of everything you send out and keep it with your log notebook. If you want to regain control of your finances, you need to stay organized.
You will have to file an affidavit with the notary public for every account involved in the theft. This is a sworn statement that says you didn't have anything to do with the fraudulent activity.
Get it notarized. You may have to pay a fee. Generally this fee is less than $30.