Friday, October 16, 2009

What Should I Do If I've Become A Victim Of Identity Theft?

A friend recently reached out to me regarding what to do when they have been victimized by identity theft. This can be a rather thorny subject because the solution may not necessarily be as clean as one would like it to be. That being said, I would refer them to expert resources that deal with this issue.
The top two resources that I have found thus far are the Identity Theft Victim's Guide by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) and the US Department of Justice Identity Theft and Fraud page, which is just a subset of the PRC's checklist.
At a minimum, both encourage you to:
  • notify all of your bank and credit card accounts of the fraudulent activity (in writing) and request new cards with new account numbers,
  • monitor your account activity,
  • monitor your credit report,
  • contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
  • and contact the fraud units of the three principal credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW), and Trans Union)
And be sure to do all these things as soon as possible.
I highly encourage you though to read through the full PRC checklist to determine what actions best fit your needs.

Blessings to you and yours!