If you have been a victim of identity theft, you are not alone. There are plenty of people that are dealing with the same issues that you are facing. The amount of money that identity theft can cost you and the harm that it can do to your reputation will depend on how you react. The faster you deal with the problems, the less harm they can do. Everyone should know the 5 steps that they need to take if they are a victim of identity theft.
The first thing is to admit that you are a victim. Identity theft statistics say that were over 12 million victims of this crime in 2012. It is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. The biggest mistake you will make is ignoring it. That is why you need to take these 5 steps as soon as you realize that your identity has been compromised. Contact your credit card companies and financial institutions. These companies are the first ones that will show you how to recover from identity theft. If you realize that someone is using your credit or debit card to steal your money and to buy things with, a call to the financial institution will put a stop to this right away. They will cancel the card immediately. Depending on the bank or credit card company, they will either reverse any fraudulent charges or limit your liability for the charges that are made. The ability to stop an identity thief in their tracks is the best way to limit your losses. It is also a good idea to monitor your bank accounts and credit card accounts online to watch for any activity that looks suspicious. The faster you take this step the better. Put a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert makes it more difficult for anyone to open up new credit in your name. Lenders will have to take extra steps before they can issue and credit. These fraud alerts can be either temporary or permanent. You do not need to show that you have a stolen identity to place these alerts. You can place them by contacting the 3 credit reporting agencies in phone or online. The alerts can take effect immediately and offer long term protection. Create an identity theft report. An affidavit can be filled out and filed with the Federal Trade Commission. This will help you as you file any paperwork with companies that have been affected by the individual that stole your identity. It is something that you should make copies of and file away if you have a need for it later to dispute any charges that companies are making against you. It can also be used to help you file a police report. Dispute your credit reports. If there are things that appear on your credit report as a result of identity theft, you can dispute them and have them removed. Any paperwork you have such as the affidavit or police report will help when you are making the disputes with the credit bureaus. Follow up. Identity thieves are smart. They realize that some people will react to identity theft quickly. They also realize people will soon forget what happened and will not be as vigilant. Make sure that you continue to monitor your credit reports and your financial accounts even after you have taken the steps above. You need to make sure that a thief never gets the chance to victimize you again.
Identity theft is not a fun issue to deal with. If you know what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, it will be an issue that can be dealt with. You will be able to minimize the impact that a thief has on your finances and your credit and you will be less of a target for any thieves in the future. Identity thieves want to find people that they can take advantage of easily. Make sure you are not one of these people.
Amy Johnson is an active blogger who is fond of writing articles on identity theft and helping people to protect against identity theft. Follow her on Twitter to know more on how to stop an identity thief quickly.