As technology advances, life has become so much easier, and the world is connected now more than ever before.
While technological advancement is a good thing, it has also increased bad practices such as identity theft. Stories of individuals falling victim to identity theft are all over, and it is only a matter of when, if it has not happened to you yet.
Although identity theft is on the rise and can cause a serious impact on the victims, surviving this crime is possible if you make the right decision as soon as you realize that it has happened.
How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
There is no full-proof protection against identity theft. However, enlisting the services of an identity protection company can make a significant difference in the outcome of your identity theft experience. These companies monitor your credit report and keep you updated on any activity allowing you to arrest a case of identity theft before it can cause extensive damage to you as a person or your finances.
If you are looking to protect your identity, this list of top-rated identity theft protection software, according to BuyersGuide, can help you make an informed decision.
Step To Take If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
1. Place’s Fraud Alert With The Credit Reporting Agencies
Once you realize that you have fallen victim to identity theft, the first step should be to immediately contact the relevant credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. That way, all creditors will be warned before extending credit under your name, meaning that it will be difficult for someone to transact with a bank in your name unless their identity is verified.
A fraud alert remains in effect for 90 days but can be extended for longer if needed.
2. Review Your Credit Report
It is also essential to obtain a credit report from all three bodies to check for any signs of fraud, such as accounts that you may not be familiar with. If you notice any mistakes in your credit report, dispute the report by writing a letter detailing the seemingly fraudulent activity or incorrect information.
3. Place A Freeze On Your Credit Report.
Placing a freeze on your credit report means no one can access your credit report without your permission. To effect a credit freeze, you will need to contact all three credit bureaus individually.
The good thing is that a credit freeze can be placed as a cautionary measure against theft. However, bear in mind that you may need to lift the freeze when applying for a job, moving into a new home, or engaging in an activity that requires your credit report to be checked.
4. Contact Financial Institutions
Most often, identity thieves are after your money. That is why it is important to contact your bank as soon as you suspect you might have fallen victim to identity theft.
Go through at least three months of statements for all your credit and debit cards, checking for unauthorized charges. If you notice any suspicious spending, inform your bank and freeze spending on your accounts until you contain the threat and your bank issues new secure cards. Even with no evidence of suspicious spending, it is important to put your funds on hold until your identity theft crisis is resolved.
5. File A Police Report
Even when identity theft happens online or from a different country, it is always important to file a police report. Filling a police report can help clear your name if your identity is used by someone else in the commission of a crime.
Additionally, a police report will help you support your identity theft claim to creditors demanding payment for accounts opened in your name and assist the police with investigating ongoing identity theft crimes.