If you have recently become a victim of identity theft, you are probably wondering if there is anything that can be done. Thankfully, there are many solutions to overcoming identity theft if you have recently suffered from these problems. You can often work with your bank, dispute charges, investigate the situation, and request reimbursement. Most importantly, you can also take steps to prevent identity theft from happening again. Below are some strategies that you can use to help overcome the difficulties associated with identity theft.
Research What Happened
The first step to overcoming identity theft is to understand what happened. In many cases, victims of identity theft mistakenly assume the theft to be an isolated incident. Unfortunately, most identity thieves routinely use the same identities for several different crimes. Therefore, the first step you will need to take is to ensure that nothing else happened. You should contact all of your banks, credit card companies, and your employer. Make sure that there is no suspicious activity being conducted in your name through existing accounts. Make sure that you take action immediately if you discover that something is wrong. If all of your accounts appear to be alright, you can move on to the next step.
Build a Plan
Before proceeding, you will need to build a plan. Depending on what happened, there are different approaches that are appropriate for certain situations. If you believe that the identity theft was an isolated incident, you will first need to resolve the theft itself. From there, you can take reasonable steps to prevent identity theft from occurring again. If you understand how your identity got stolen, it will be easier to take preventative actions. In some cases, you may simply need to change your passwords or open a new bank account. If you are not certain how your identity was stolen, you will need to take very extensive steps to ensure that identity theft does not occur again. You may need to have sensitive information removed from the internet, create credit alerts, or even hire a professional identity theft investigator.
Talk to Your Bank
The first action that is necessary for recovering from identity theft is to talk to your bank. This can help to identity if any suspicious activity has occurred on your account. In some cases, this information may not be immediately available to you. For example, the thief may have visited the bank office in an attempt to take out a loan. In other cases, there may be large transactions on your accounts that were declined. Bank officers can usually provide this important information. The bank may also have ideas for preventative actions that can be taken to protect your account. It may even be possible to have certain transactions removed or disputed by your bank. By simply talking to your bank, you can substantially increase the odds of getting your money and identity back.
Call Credit Card Companies
After you talk to your bank, you should get in touch with your credit card company. You should talk to both the company that issued the card and the credit agency that the card is associated with. Both of these firms want to maintain a good reputation, so they often provide guarantees that can protect buyers. For example, many credit card companies are willing to write off the charges altogether. Although this is not always guaranteed, it is not unheard of in today’s world. Like your bank, credit card companies may also have ideas to protect you from future identity theft.
When identity theft occurs, it is rare to see money simply being withdrawn out of a victim’s bank account. Usually, your funds will be used to purchase something of value. This could be a house, car, phone, or even groceries. In some cases, merchants may be willing to cancel transactions and provide a refund. This is especially possible if the goods have not yet been delivered. Although merchants are not always amenable to this, it is always worth trying. For this to succeed, it is very important that you provide documentation that proves that the identity theft really occurred.
File a Police Report
It is also important to file a police report as soon as possible. While local police departments generally lack the tools or motivation to investigate identity thefts, this will help to legitimize your claims about theft itself. The reality is that there are many scams in today’s world that involve feigning identity theft. When you call a merchant and mention that you are a victim of identity theft, they will view your claims with skepticism. When have a signed police report that they can reference, your claims will be seen as more legitimate. Filing a police report is also necessary for possible insurance claims or other liability coverage.
Report Identity Theft to the FBI
While local police departments might not be able to help, the FBI certainly has the resources to do so. Since identity theft is a growing public concern, the agency handles identity theft cases with care. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should make sure that you report the crime to the FBI. This group as specific agents designated for tracking down identity thieves and handling cases. Even if the FBI is not able to immediately provide assistance, it can at least provide advice for avoiding identity theft in the future. You should also consider contacting the IRS or even the SEC.
Contact the Credit Agencies
You can also uncover valuable insights about potential identity theft activities by running a credit report. This will provide information about outstanding loan accounts, loan applications, and payments that were made. Since all creditors are legally required to provide real contact information on these reports, you should call the numbers listed on questionable balances. While some of these credit claims might be legitimate, it is always good to check just in case. This can also help you to understand your current debt situation and help to improve your credit score.
For more information and free identity theft resources, visit StopIdentityFraud.org