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Credit Report & Credit Score; Credit Repair, Debt Management > Identity Theft > What should you do if you are a victim of identity theft?

What should you do if you are a victim of identity theft?

By Ruth Racey
Published: Monday, June 7th, 2010

Its never going to be easy to survive an identity theft. But the key to prevent long term damage is to act fast. If you take quick and decisive action, you can make sure that you lost nothing.

The first step to take when you realize that you have been a victim of identity theft is to report it to the credit bureaus. There are three agencies in the United States of America that report credit scores. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Call up any one of them and ask them to put up a fraud alert. And make sure that you follow up the call with a written letter requesting for action to be taken.

This step is very important because it will ensure that your credit score is not affected. Any transaction that takes place after the fraud alert will not reflect on your credit score. This way you can be assured that you will be able to get credit in future without any hassles and will not have to pay for the fraudulent transactions.

Credit issuers will now have to call you personally in order to confirm whether or not you want to open new credit accounts. This way the thief cannot open credit accounts without your knowledge. But it is always prudent to monitor your credit reports just to be doubly sure that nothing unwarranted is being reflected on it.

And then the next obvious step is to report the crime to the law enforcement agencies. The local cyber crime unit will immediately put up an alert based on your complaint. The faster you act, the easier it will be for the police to track down the culprit. The United States secret service also has jurisdiction over identity theft cases. But they will not normally take all cases unless the dollar value is high or if the case is related to an organized criminal gang.

Also contact the federal trade commission. They do not track cyber crime on their own; however they will let all the agencies know about your case. And the details will be added to the national database of identity theft.

If you are being contacted by a debt recovery agent, the first thing you must remember is to never pay up for what you do not owe. And then make sure you send a written letter stating your predicament to the recovery agency.

Lastly, keep your cool and try your best to sustain the least amount of damage possible. This is the only way you can get out of this unscathed.

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