Steps to Recover from
How can you recover from identity theft?
Having your identity stolen can be an overwhelming experience. It often takes a financial and emotional toll.
So, how can you recover from ID theft?
First step is discovering the ID theft
According to a source, financial institutions and credit monitoring service companies are becoming better at catching identity fraud. In 2012, a bank or credit card issuer alerted consumers of the identity theft.
However, you still need to be vigilant. The study highlights that 50 percent of consumers found the fraud themselves by monitoring their bank accounts, credit card statements and credit scores and by purchasing identity protection services .
How long the process may take
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that it can take approximately six months and 200 hours of work to recover from an identity theft. This estimation is based on the amount of work needed to follow the necessary steps to ensure the victim is not responsible for the debt incurred.
Steps for ID theft victims to take to protect their identity
If you discover that your identity has been stolen, you should take the following steps to protect yourself:
- Step 1: File a police report - This step triggers helpful federal and state protections. A police report is also helpful when you contact your creditors about the ID theft.
- Step 2: Close the affected accounts - Close any bank and credit accounts affected by identity theft. If you automatically draft payments from these accounts, be sure to update the information with those companies.
- Step 3: Notify the Credit Bureaus -
Request either a fraud alert or a security freeze from the credit bureaus. You can do this by phone or mail or on their websites:
- www.Equifax.com 1-800-525-6285
- www.Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- www.TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289
- Step 4: Notify the Federal Trade Commission - File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or use the FTC's online complaint form.
Additional steps you should consider
To supplement the above steps, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse provides a fact sheet called Identity Theft: What to Do if It Happens to You. This fact sheet is a comprehensive check list that also includes tips like:
- Notifying the post office of potential fraud
- Seeking psychological counseling for emotional stress
- Opting out of pre-approved credit offers from all three credit bureaus
- Keeping good records of all your dealings with police and creditors
- Getting legal help, if necessary
- Watching your credit report for additional cases of fraud
Being a victim of identity theft does not necessarily protect you from future occurrences of identity fraud. You need to continue to monitoring your credit when you are trying to recover from identity theft. You may find additional issues you need to deal with.