Identity theft can be stressful, but there are steps you can take to minimize the long-term impact on your finances. Get the know-how you need to recover from being a victim of identity theft.

Here are 5 Steps to Take after an Identity Theft

  1. File an Initial Fraud Alert
    1. Filing a fraud alert will make it harder for a criminal to file for a loan in your name
    2. Filing a fraud alert is free
    3. The fraud alert will be on your account for 90 days
  2. Initiate a Credit Freeze
    1. No creditors can look at your report without your permission making it harder to open accounts in your name.
    2. A credit freeze is often free for credit fraud victims
  3. File an identity theft report
    1. Let federal and local authorities know about the crime
    2. Filing an identity theft report can help remove fraudulent charges from your account.
  4. Contact Credit Bureaus and Businesses
    1. File a dispute for each charge or action that is not yours
    2. Keep a written log of everyone and every business you speak to
    3. Check the gov website for tips
  5. Place an extended fraud alert
    1. An extended fraud alert is free
    2. The alert lasts for 7 years
    3. Gives you 2 free copies of your credit report every year so you can keep track of activity and detect any suspicious activity.

Recovery from identity theft is an unnerving and difficult process. Thus, taking steps to prevent yourself from falling victim to identity theft is of paramount importance. If your information was already stolen, detection is crucial. Annual credit checks for suspicious activity and opening every piece of mail you receive can help you determine if your information has been compromised. Finally, if you do fall prey to identity theft, the FTC outlines in its pamphlet, Taking Charge: What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen the steps you can take to repair your finances. As stated on the FTC website, it is important to remember to “deter, detect, and defend against identity theft”.

Shred Nations can help prevent identity theft by helping you securely dispose of all documents and electronics that hold confidential and personal information. If you are looking for a safe and cost effective way to safeguard your identity you should consider a regularly scheduled shredding program.

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