1. Place an initial fraud alert
Report that you are a victim to one of the three credit reporting companies. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit report. That company will tell the other companies, and the alert will be valid for 90 days. Keep track of the fraud alert ending date.
2. Order your credit reports
Once you place the fraud alert, you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the companies. Order your free copy, asking the company to show only the last four digits of your Social Security number on your report. Check the reports carefully and update or correct the information contained, if necessary. Keep copies of everything.
3. Create an identity theft report
This step is important in helping you recover from the theft. You’ll want to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and submit an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. You will also want to file a police report about your identity theft.
Once you have reported and documented the identity theft, it’s important to monitor the situation. Keep track of your calls and correspondence, documents and deadlines. These three steps are a critical part of the process, but they are just the beginning. With the basics covered, it will be time to tackle the next steps on what could be a long road to identity theft recovery.
How to help others
If you are a provider of services that include helping victims of identity theft repair the damage it causes, be sure to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s online video Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims.