If you notice some strange activity on any of your accounts, the first thing you should do is notify one of the credit reporting agencies’ fraud alert departments and place a fraud alert on your credit report. This prevents identity thieves from opening accounts in your name. In order to receive the most protection possible, it is important you call one of the credit reporting agencies as soon as you possibly can, even if you aren’t 100 percent sure your identity has been stolen. That way if someone has stolen your identity it can be taken care of before any more damage can be done. There is not penalty for reporting questionable activity.
What is “Questionable Activity”?
- Unexplained withdrawals from your bank account
- You stop receiving bills in the mail
- Merchants refuse your checks
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifies you that more than 1 tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account
- You are arrested for a crime someone else allegedly committed in your name
Alert a Credit Agency
Tell the agency you think your identity has been stolen. The agency will ask you to verify your identity with your Social Security number, name, address, and possibly other personal information. Here are some numbers you can call to claim identity theft:
- Equifax Fraud Department
- Experian Fraud Department
- TransUnion Fraud Department
Once an alert has been placed on your account it in important to continue to monitor the accounts. You will need to work with the credit reporting agencies to remove fraudulent activity and replace all stolen credit cards. It is also a good idea to change all passwords or confidential information that may link to the cards or bank account that has been breached.
Contact your Lenders, Banks, and Insurance Companies
Let them know the situation. Ask to close accounts. Open new ones with new personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords.
Prepare for Identity Theft
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself against identity theft is securely destroying documents with confidential information. Make sure to never toss out any bank or credit card statements and even bills. It is best to shred these documents to ensure your safety.
If you need help making sure you are protected from identity theft, call Shred Nations at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form to the right for a FREE no obligations quote in minutes! We can help you securely destroy your documents, so that you can avoid the risks of identity thefts.