(FinancialHealth.net) – Identity theft totally sucks, period. If your identity has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission says you should call them at 1-877-438-4338 or use their website at IdentityTheft.gov to file an official report. Read on for additional steps to limit the damage and recover your losses:
Review ALL Account Statements
Look for any new or unfamiliar charges. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your bank or card issuer and report the fraudulent activity. They will cancel any current credit or debit card numbers and issue you new cards and account numbers.
Pull Your Credit Report
Check for any new or unfamiliar inquiries or accounts on your report. We love Credit Karma for free access to valuable credit tools. If you notice anything suspicious, contact the company listed on the account and confirm or report the fraudulent activity.
Set-Up ID Monitoring
Also available from Credit Karma or your bank, you can enroll in ID monitoring with a few clicks and that will notify you of new credit accounts created under your name and social security number.
Change Your Passwords
Reusing the same password on multiple accounts (AKA “portable passwords”) is incredibly dangerous. It’s essential to set different complex passwords for each account. Our favorite tool for creating and managing complex passwords is 1Password. Alternatively you can easily remember your own non-portable passwords by using this password strategy.
Call the Police
This is especially important if you know who stole your identity or if you believe someone has used your name during the course of any legal interaction. Even if you are not sure who stole your identity, some creditors will require a police report in order to help you resolve charge disputes.
Freeze Your Credit Reports
The three main bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion offer options to freeze your credit reports, giving you additional control over who and when your credit report is accessed.
It takes time, diligent effort and patience to recover from identity theft, but you can do it. Hopefully you never need this advice, but if you ever do, now you know.
~Here’s to your Financial Health
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