But there’s help.
In our last post we talked about a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, www.IdentityTheft.gov. Follow the step-by-step instructions there and you will have reported the theft properly to the FTC. You’ll answer questions about what happened and then get a personal recovery plan based on your situation.
The beauty of the site is that you don’t just get a plan, you get advice as to how to put it into action.
Here’s a brief review:
Identity Theft Recovery Steps
You’ll be advised as to what to do immediately. Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred, place a fraud alert, get your credit reports, and report the theft to the FTC. If you’re dealing with tax, medical, or child identity theft, since these are special issues you’ll be directed to pages that describe each.
Then you close accounts, remove illegal charges, and correct your credit report. If your social security number was taken, report that to the Social Security Administration. Then you start replacing your driver’s license, passport, and any other government issued IDs.
Certain kinds of accounts may be a bit more complicated. So there’s advice on dealing with your utilities, phones, government benefits, checking accounts, student loans, apartment rentals, investment accounts, even a bankruptcy filed in your name.
After Discovering Your Identity Theft
You get sample letters to help you write to the various companies, authorities, and government agencies about your loss. If calling your credit and/or debit card company to get charges deleted doesn’t work, there’s a letter you can send them. Just fill in the blanks. In just a minute or two you’ll be good to go. There are also letter templates to credit bureaus, debt collectors, and more.
There’s a list of your rights as an identity theft victim. These include fraud alerts on your credit report, free copies of your credit report, and stopping debt collectors from contacting you.
Contact information includes websites, phone numbers, and addresses to various credit bureaus such as Equifax, federal government agencies, and popular credit card, phone, and health insurance companies.
This is one of the most informative, action oriented, and user friendly websites we’ve seen. Identity theft is a painful, irritating, and time consuming crime that we hope doesn’t happen to you.
But if it does, your very first step is to go to www.IdentityTheft.gov and let it lead you to a satisfactory recovery.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.