Identity theft is a global problem with people from all over the world every day falling prey to unscrupulous criminals who use the good credit earned by their victims to steal money and leave them to pick up the pieces.
Here are some tips and advice on what you need to do if your identity is stolen.
Take immediate Action
As much as cancelling cards and other financial transactions and resources is a real chore, you must take immediate action as soon as you suspect or confirm that someone is using your identity to obtain credit or commit a financial fraud in your name.
Raising the Alarm
The main thing to remember is that if you take action right away you can often minimize the damage that a fraudster can cause. Place an initial fraud alert by contacting of the national credit bureaus and ask for an initial fraud alert to be placed on your credit file.
Also call your bank or credit card issuer and any other financial organization that you have an account with and where you suspect your personal details have been compromised.
Once a fraud alert has been raised, anyone trying to raise credit will have to prove their identity before any loan is granted and the fraudster will quickly move on to their next victim.
Assess the Damage
Only you can say what financial transactions are real and belong to you and which ones are fraudulent. The national credit bureau that you contacted should provide you with a free copy of your credit report in view of the fact that you have reported a credit fraud.
This will enable you to see what transactions have taken place that are not yours and alert the relevant companies and the credit bureau as to what items on your report need to be flagged as fraud.
Dispute the Entry
The way that you contest the fraudulent applications and information that appears on your credit file is to dispute an entry with the credit bureau. This will allow them to investigate and contact the financial provider in order to resolve the dispute and correct or remove the information from your credit file once it has been confirmed as fraud and not a genuine transaction.
Preventing Identity Theft
The fundamental problem with identity theft is it committed in a very underhand way and many victims do not realise that they have been targeted until they get declined for a transaction or application and investigate why their credit history is suddenly a problem.
Take great care to destroy any documents like bank or credit card statements that contain vital information that could be used to assume your identity and be wary of divulging personal data such as your date of birth to anyone or any source that you consider is not genuine. It is extremely unlikely that a genuine financial organization will request your date of birth details via an email in order to “update” or “verify” their information, so think carefully before you give away vital data that could be used to commit identity fraud in your name.
Identity theft is a big problem and billions of dollars are stolen every year, leaving the average victim more than $1,500 out of pocket even after the fraud has been detected and the matter rectified.
Consider taking out some insurance for restoration coverage, that way you will be able to put your life and financial history back on track and suffer little or no financial loss at all if you are unfortunate enough to be a victim of identity theft.
Adam Becker is a retired security officer who offers insurance and self-protection advice when not spending time outdoors. Visit the Calgary insurance broker link and learn about their services.