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What To Do If You Think You Have Been A Victim Of Identity Theft?

Mar 13, 2008
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, then your first priority will be to act fast, very fast! It only takes a few minutes for somebody with your details to apply for a loan in your name, or to purchase something with your credit cards. The people you should first report to very much depends on the object that you think has been stolen to be used in a case of identity theft.

The faster you act, the higher the chances you have of minimizing the thief's destruction to your life. For example, if you believe that a credit card has been stolen, then you should first attempt to inform the credit card company so your card can be cancelled and nothing can be purchased with it. Even if they do not have the Pin number to your card, they can still purchase things over the internet or by phone, and the quicker the card is cancelled, the more likely you are to keep your credit rating intact! If you have not noticed the credit card is missing, the thief could be using other ways to manipulate your bank, so when you suspect something is wrong, for example, by looking at financial records or bank statements, then you should contact the company as soon as you can. With quick communication, you will find that most companies will allow you to lower the liability for any financial losses.

When you have realized that you are becoming, or have become a victim of identity theft, you should contact the police. A police report is filed and therefore if any financial losses are noted, you have the back-up of being able to provide evidence that the card was stolen and it wasn't you running up the bill! You should also try to inform, where possible, agencies that are in charge of keeping credit scores, for example, Experian and Equifax. If they have been notified that your details have been stolen and could be used in cases of identity theft, any loans or other applications made in your name will be refused. This way, you can expect not to have massive dents in your finances or credit scores.

If it is your Social Security Number that has been stolen, or that you believe is on part of the paperwork that has been misplaced, then you should contact the Social Security Administration. There you face the decision of changing your number, and there are people there that you can talk to, to best work out the situation.

Again, if your Drivers License has gone missing, you need to contact the authorities in charge of such a department and the same goes to if your address has been stolen. Notify the Postal Offices so that your address cannot be changed to receive goods purchased through your stolen card or bank details.

If you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft by way of criminal activity, then you need to either speak to your lawyer, or the Attorney General and again, file a report with the Police.

The only way to act if you think you have been a victim of identity theft is to act fast! It doesn't matter what paperwork, or whatever has been stolen, notify everyone that you think the thief may have details of. It may even be wise to notify those that you aren't sure of, just to be on the safe side. The more people that know, the more you will be protected and therefore, the more you can limit the damage caused!
About the Author
Author and internet entrepreneur Bernard Pragides offers expert advice and tips regarding identity theft. Learn more about identity theft and fraud by visiting his identity theft blog at http://www.LifeLockBlog.com for more helpful information.
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