What to Do After Identity Theft Occurs

June 15, 2023 by Partner Colorado Credit Union

Identity theft is what happens when a criminal obtains your personal or financial information without your permission. The criminal will use your information with the intent of assuming your identity to make purchases or borrow money. When you become a victim of identity theft, it can make you feel upset and overwhelmed knowing someone has access to your private information. However, it’s important to know recovering from identity theft is possible. By breaking the process down into steps and using the right resources, you can protect yourself and move towards a life after identity theft.

Step 1: Call the Financial Institution or Company Where the Fraud Occurred

Your first step is to inform the company or companies where the fraud occurred and tell them you’ve become an identity theft victim. In some cases, you may need to close an account. A representative from the company should be able to advise you if this is necessary. You’ll also want to change any logins or passwords associated with the frauded account.

Step 2: Get Your Credit Report and Set Up Fraud Alerts

It’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report to see what’s on it. There are three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Each one collects and shares information about your credit usage with potential lenders and financial institutions. Normally, your credit report is available every 12 months from all three credit bureaus. However, since the pandemic, online access to your report is still available on a weekly basis for free through December 2023. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get started. You can also check your FICO® Credit Score through a feature on Partner Colorado’s Mobile Banking App. In addition, you can set up fraud alerts with each credit agency. This places a notice on your credit report alerting credit card companies and other lenders that you may have been a victim of fraud. Therefore, the lenders will take extra steps to verify your identity before lending you money.

Step 3: Report ID Theft to the FTC

You’ll also want to report any identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Once you tell the FTC what happened, they’ll use that information to establish a personal recovery plan. They can also help walk you through each recovery step and answer any questions you have along the way.

You can visit www.identitytheft.gov or call (877) 438-4338 to complete an Identity Theft Report.

Step 4: File a Police Report

Next, you’ll want to contact your local law enforcement to inform them of the identity theft. You’ll want to provide a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report.

Step 5: Correct Credit Report information

Submit disputes to each credit reporting agency that contains fraudulent account information. You can complete this online at the credit bureau’s website or by mailing a dispute letter.

Step 6: Consider an Extended Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze

If it gives you better peace of mind, you can place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. It’s just like a regular fraud alert; it notifies lenders to verify your identity before giving credit, but it lasts for seven years. Another option to consider is putting a credit freeze on your credit report. This will restrict access to your credit report, which means you, and others, will not be able to open a new credit account while the freeze is in place. Credit freezes will last until you remove them.

Step 7: Contact the Social Security Administration

It’s also a good idea to contact the Social Security Administration. You can create a My Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. You should review the earnings posted to your record. If there are any inconsistencies, you should contact Social Security.

Step 8: Contact the IRS if Necessary

If you believe someone has used your Social Security Number fraudulently, you should contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can visit irs.gov to learn about how IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance works. It’s important to remember, you shouldn’t wait to respond if you have been the victim of identity theft. The faster you report identity theft, the better chance you have of limiting your liability for the fraudulent transactions and stopping the fraud from creating more havoc than necessary. Feeling uncertain about what to do when identity theft first happens is common, but by taking fast action and following these steps, you’ll be on the road to rebuilding your finances.

When you have a Partner Colorado checking account powered by BaZing you can take advantage of fraud prevention and fraud resolution benefits. Our Identity Theft Aid benefit offers reimbursement for expenses incurred to restore your identity for covered events. In addition, you also have access to a fraud specialist that can assist with payment card fraud resolution and identity restoration. With our Credit Monitoring with Credit Report and Score and Fraud Resolution benefit, you’ll receive alerts if your monitored credit report has suspicious activity. You can review your quarterly credit report and score as well as receive expert fraud resolution assistance if you ever become a victim of identity theft. Stay alert and keep up to date on the most current identity theft and fraud news by signing up for Fraud News and Alerts. You’ll receive weekly email updates about the latest scams.


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