It’s a well-established fact identity theft victims go through a lot of pain. Identity theft is a crime that has shown no sign of slowing down thanks to the growing complexities of communication and technology. Having your ‘identity’ stolen as a person opens a whole new level of disastrous possibilities and the legal repercussions can be enormous.
Identity thieves may use the identities of their victims to commit crimes while masking their own true identities. Not only that, they gain the power to wreak havoc on your finances, credit and reputation. Consequently, a victim of identity theft not only has to deal with financial fraud but also face the risk of being jailed for crimes he or she didn’t commit.
If you become a victim of identity theft, here are a couple of things that you should do immediately.
Change All Your Passwords:
This seems like the obvious first thing to do. Changing all account passwords is very important especially for people who use a universal password for all their accounts on the internet. Avoid using passwords that are easy to guess by hackers. These include your phone number, date of birth, pet name and the last four digits of your SSN.
Report The Theft To Your Credit Card Company:
If you lose your credit card information to identity thieves, you’ll want to immediately alert your credit card company and your bank to block any future transaction from being carried out with your card. This way, you know that the rest of your money is safe.
Confirm Your Address With The Post Office:
If you have any reason to believe that your postal address has been changed by identity thieves, you need to check with the post office for confirmation.
Contact The Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Create an Identity Theft Report by getting a police report and obtain an Identity Theft Affidavit. The FTC will provide you with information about what to do next, depending on what type of fraud was committed.
Report To The Police:
Letting the police know and filing a report about the incident that led to your identity being stolen is a good action to take. But do these after changing your passwords and reporting to your credit card company. Ensure that you get a copy of the police report too. Combining the police report and the Federal Trade Commission ‘Identity Theft Affidavit’ will make up your Identity Theft Report.
Protect Your Social Security Number:
If your social security number is stolen by identity thieves, contact the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. Ask for a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement and check for accuracy.
Get A New Driver’s License:
If you suspect that someone is using your Driver’s license as a form of Identification, you may need to change your driver’s license number. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new number.
Contact Your Utility Company:
They need to be alerted in case an identity thief tries to open a new account in your name, using a utility bill as proof of residence.
These are all important steps to take to minimize the havoc that identity theft victims go through. However, prevention is way better than trying to find a cure. Do everything possible to keep yourself safe and your identity secure.
This article was written by Emmanuel Ozigi, a biochemist in the making from Nigeria. In my spare time, I’m a science, health, and fitness blogger. I also specialize in graphic design and photo editing. I also have this insatiable hunger for information and the desire to learn new things. Visit my blog at http://sciencehealth24.com.