Falling victim to identity theft can be an unsettling experience, and can happen to anyone. In fact, there are more than 13 million identity theft victims each year! Those who have suffered from identity theft generally don’t know where to begin to restore their good name and credit. Where should you start? We’ve put together a list of where to start, and how to get your credit score back in good graces.
File a police report first thing
This is the first step to take if there is any indication of identity theft. Many fraud departments will require a copy of this report to validate a customer’s status as an identity theft victim. Do this at the first sign of any questionable activity. Then, move on to the steps listed below.
Cancel all credit and debit cards
Do this sooner rather than later, and contact your bank immediately. Be sure to close checking accounts and any other connected accounts. Request stop payments on all stolen check numbers. Open a new account with a new number, and make all requests in person or in writing. It’s a great idea to keep a list of your credit and debit cards to help you quickly close them. Keep this list in a bank safe deposit box or a secure safe at home.
Contact other providers
Call your insurance carriers, libraries, gyms and any other locations where you may have a membership.
Put a fraud alert on your credit report
If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. By alerting one of the credit bureaus, they must alert the other two. A fraud alert requires creditors to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian: (800) 397-3742
TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
Whether you suspect your identity was stolen, or you’re being proactive in managing your identity, check with your insurance company, your bank and your employee benefits provider to see what services they might offer to help you.
At Fidelity Bank & Trust, we have a great program to help you stay in control of your identity, and if there is a breach, our professional and qualified staff will help to have your identity restored. By enrolling in our ID Shield program, you’re protecting yourself with the help of the nation’s premier provider of identity management services and protection services available. Click here to learn more, or stop in and talk to one of our friendly staff members today!