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The final ‘D’ in Identity Theft

If Identity Theft happens to you, the best thing you can do is to act quickly.

Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit report, and review your credit report carefully. The Fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open a new account, a loan or make changes to an account that has your  name on it. Make sure you call all THREE Credit bureaus to place the Fraud alert on each report. You will give them a phone number to call if someone (or you) is opening a new account, loan or making changes to your account. Don’t give them a number that you won’t be at. Some financial institutions will have you place a “code word” on your account so when you come in they’ll ask this every time. The fraud alert is good for 90 days on your credit report. If you feel you want it longer then you’ll need to call them all again.

Credit Bureaus: Equifax, Transunion, Experian

Close your account. Call each company that you have an account with and tell them what happened and to close out the accounts so they can not be used. This is good for credit cards, because thieves can make your cards out pretty quick.

File a police report. When you file a police report with law enforcement, they will help with creditors who may want proof of the crime. Most financial institutions will need a “case number” to go along with your affidavit of the fraud.

Report the thefts to the Federal Trade commission. Your report, helps law enforcement across the country in their investigations.  1-877-ID-THEFT (435-4338) or online at ftc.gov/idtheft

 

Be cautious about giving your personal information to someone you don’t know. Don’t leave your purse or wallet in the car or trunk. Look at your surroundings, is something out of place. Go with your gut instinct. Be wise, be smart, be careful.

 

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