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What to do in Case of Identity Theft

By Ruth Racey
Published: Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

There is nobody more qualified to help fight identity theft than the victims themselves. They can tell you a lot of useful things about how you can prevent becoming the next casualty. Identity theft has already claimed millions of victims, and these numbers will continue to grow unless something is done to improve web safety.

The victims themselves will tell you the difficulties of recovering from identity theft. First, you have the pain of losing hard earned money and losing the sound credit score carefully nursed through years of careful spending and prompt payments. You can lose means of providing college education for your children, or means to buy the things you want to buy or do the things you wanted to do for a long time. Second, there is pain of not experiencing justice done since identify thieves are seldom apprehended. Third, there is the struggle of victims trying to recover from their loss of identity. Years after the incident some of them, especially those who lost more in terms of money and credit credibility, are still trying to recover confidence in themselves.

The most useful information a former victim can tell you is what you should do to protect yourself from identify theft. Under any circumstances do not give your computer password, bank account numbers, credit card, personal identification, and social security numbers to anybody. Not personally, not over the phone or through e-mails. You have to be careful where you keep papers containing any of this information. Leaving them lying around where anybody can pick them up or read them is the best recipe for disaster. The next thing you know, you will be looking at bills you know nothing about or looking at a bank statement saying you have zero balance.

The web is a dangerous place. It is where most identity thefts happen. When shopping online, check the reliability of the website. You might be feeding information to a clone shopping website. Check the address. A cloned website looks just like the original, but with a different address.

Should you fall victim to identify theft, follow what others before have done. Report the theft to your credit card issuer, bank, and social security department, the Federal identity theft clearinghouse, and the credit bureaus. Request the freezing of your accounts to prevent the thief from withdrawing all your money and close the accounts.

In case the thief has already used the stolen information to make purchases or withdraw money from your bank accounts, dispute all items you do not have knowledge of. The credit bureau will conduct investigations and delete the said items should your claim prove right.

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