A Simple Guide to Identity Theft Recovery
It’s Friday. You login to your mobile banking app to see how much you got paid before heading out the door to meet your friends for dinner and drinks. It isn’t until this moment that you discover a $250 charge to Amazon, $75 spent at a gas station 350 miles away and $45 spent at a grocery store another 300 miles away. How can this be possible? Your mind starts racing to put the puzzle pieces together, but the thought of being an identity theft victim causes panic to ensue…
Most of us go about our daily lives without any regard for identity theft. We never expect the unexpected to happen. The 2016 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $15 billion was stolen from 13.1 million U.S. consumers in 2015, compared with $16 billion and 12.7 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen $112 billion (Insurance Information Institute).
If you or someone you know has become a victim of identity theft, time is the biggest enemy. To speed up the identity theft recovery process, follow our step-by-step guide below.
Steps to Identity Theft Recovery:
- Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred
- Call the fraud department and explain what you’ve discovered
- Ask them to close, or freeze the affected accounts
- Change all login information, passwords and/or PINs for your accounts
- Place a fraud alert and gain access your credit reports
- Place a 90-day fraud alert by contacting one of the three credit bureaus – that company is required to contact the other two companies on your behalf
- Get your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228
- Report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission
- Complete the online form, or call 1-877-438-4338
- File a report with your local police department (OPTIONAL)
- Go to your local police office with a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report, a government-issued ID with a photo, proof of your address and any other proof you have of the theft
- File a report with the local police department
- Ask for a copy of the report
What to Do Next:
Now, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the recovery stage. At this point in the process, you need to begin to repair the damage. Start by closing new accounts opened in your name, removing bogus charges from your current accounts, correct your credit report and consider adding an extended fraud alert or credit freeze as necessary.
Once you recover from the aftermath of an identity theft crisis, the next step is to practice identity theft protection.
AccuShred helps you respond to the growing threat of information and identity theft by providing high-security information destruction. We provide our clients with both on-site and off-site scheduled container pick-up and purge services. We also invite clients who have a smaller amount of material, to drop their material off at our secure facility for a more cost-effective solution.