Steps To Take When Your Identity Has Been Stolen
If/(when) your identity has been stolen, you need to take some quick action to stop the identity thief from causing any more damage to your credit report and your good name. Here are the steps to take:
Get a copy of your credit report immediately from a credit monitoring service (either paid or unpaid). We recommend CreditKarma.com. Review that credit report and with a pen, circle every bit of information on it that is not something you recognize. Look at name variations, trade lines, collection items, addresses that you have never had and who has pulled your credit report.
Call any one of the credit bureaus and put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit reports. This means that no new credit can be opened in your name without the creditor calling you and speaking with you personally first. You only need to call one credit bureau because that one will inform the other 2 of them, electronically, of the identity theft.
Also, get a free copy of your official credit reports from each of the credit bureaus. A claim of identity theft is all you need to get your free credit reports.
Review each of the official credit reports with the same scrutiny that you have reviewed the prior credit reports to discover other items on your reports that do not belong to you.
Call your credit card companies and report the cards as stolen ASAP. By law, your liability is limited to $50. Some credit cards even waive that liability. Each company will expect you to send them a copy of the police report (see the next step).
Take your credit reports to the police station and get a police report. In your report, identify each item that does not belong to you. With respect to the officer, do not take “no” for an answer if they refuse to take a report. You need this report in order to get your credit reports fixed. Again, be as detailed as possible as to all of the items that are on them that do you belong to you or that you do not recognize. (Caution – Don’t play games with this. If you have a debt that is yours, do not try to get around it by claiming identity theft. The creditor will be able to easily verify that the debt is yours and then your credibility will be zero. At that point, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to clean up your credit. Always be truthful).
Get us the official credit reports and your police report. Let us write the dispute letters to the credit bureaus at no charge to you. Note, that we get paid only if we have to file a lawsuit on your behalf and we are successful. If we are able to get your credit report fixed without a lawsuit, then the credit repair is free to you.