Friday, April 25, 2014

Steps You Can Take If You've Been Identity Thefted

If you find yourself the victim of identity theft, here are the standard steps the police or any financial services company will ask you to take:

1. Notify your local police. Filing a police report may seem silly, since almost never is an identity thief someone who lives in your local community. However, as I was told by the officer who took my report, "It is done to give your case credibility. After all, no one is supposed to lie to the police, right?"

2. Fill out an FTC affidavit of theft. Honestly, this seems to be as futile as the local police report. But it is one of the required pathways for making a report. What I found most foolish about the form was on the one hand it asked you for very confidential information like social security number, driver's license number and date of birth....And then it sent up a warning saying this kind of information makes you vulnerable to fraudulent activity, so it is advised NOT to include it! Go figure! I chose to leave those vulnerable spaces blank for my own security!

3. Report your theft(s) to the credit monitoring bureaus: Equifax, Transunion and Experian. You may want a fraud alert put on all your accounts. And you may want to check your credit reports to make sure nothing is on them that you didn't authorize.

4. If you have an accountant, notify them. This is particularly important if you have tax identity theft or having retirement funds tampered with. The accountant can help run interference with the IRS and can help solve problems resulting from fraudulent use of your social security number of early withdrawal penalties for retirement money not withdrawn by YOU.

5. Hire a good computer security consultant. Whether s/he can find malware or spyware on your computer or even the smoking gun of the thief's attack, a good computer security consultant will provide you an eye opening education both about how thieves get into your on-line accounts, and what you can do to protect yourself.

6. Get yourself emotional support as well as practical support. Having your personal information stolen or tampered with and having hard-earned funds stolen is an assault. It can feel like a rape, a burglary or an attack. Your sense of safety in the larger world might be in question. Make sure you don't have to navigate what can be an overwhelming experience all alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment