Protecting Your Peace of Mind: What To Do If Your Identity is Stolen

Posted by Excite Credit Union on Nov 27, 2023 4:27:04 PM

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Learning what to do if your identity is stolen can be extremely helpful in safeguarding your personal and financial well-being. You've just found out that someone's been messing with your personal info – it's not a great feeling, is it? We're here to help you get through this tough situation. Let’s break down what to do if you suspect or know that your identity's been swiped. Acting fast can make all the difference in getting your life back on track.

Get in Touch with Your Bank and Credit Card Companies
First things first, reach out to your bank and credit card companies. Let them know about the identity theft and any strange stuff happening in your accounts. They'll help you lock things down and keep an eye out for any shady transactions.

Report the Incident to Law Enforcement
Don't forget to contact your local police where the identity theft went down. File a report and make sure to grab a copy. You might need this report later when dealing with banks and creditors.

Switch Up Your Passwords and PINs
Change the passwords and PINs for all your online accounts – think email, social media, and money-related stuff. Make sure your new passwords are tough to crack and different for each account.

Lock Down Your Personal Info
Take steps to secure your personal information. It might mean updating your IDs, locking your mailbox, and using a shredder for important papers.

Stay on Top of Your Accounts
Keep a close eye on your financial accounts and credit reports. Many banks offer free credit monitoring to help you stay sharp.

Set Up a Fraud Alert
Call up one of the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) and ask them to set up a fraud alert on your credit reports. This alert tells creditors to be extra careful when someone tries to open new accounts in your name.

Contact Your Creditors
If you spot any dodgy accounts or transactions, get in touch with the creditors straight away. Let them know what's up and ask them to close or flag those fraudulent accounts.

Talk to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Visit the FTC's website to report the identity theft. They've got plenty of resources and a step-by-step plan to guide you through the process.

Give Your Credit Reports a Once-Over
Check your credit report from where you get a free credit report every 12 months. Keep an eye out for any accounts you didn't open or any strange stuff. If you see anything off, dispute it with the credit agencies.

Think About a Credit Freeze
For an extra layer of protection, you can freeze your credit reports. It stops new creditors from peeking at your reports, making it tough for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. To do this, contact the credit bureaus for more information and guidance. 

Dealing with identity theft is a real pain, but following these steps can help you regain control over your personal info and financial security. If you believe that your identity's been swiped, don't hesitate to act – and remember, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Topics: Talking About Money, Credit Unions are Different than Banks