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Steps to take after being victimized by identity theft

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Credit Reporting Errors

Errors on your credit report can have a tremendous impact on your life. You might be denied employment, incur higher interest rates on loans, and be iced out from the credit you need to buy a home or a car. Therefore, it’s critically important that you regularly review your credit report so that you catch any errors that might appear.

While some errors are easy enough to have corrected, identity theft can be trickier. After all, creditors might’ve been duped by a fraudster who was armed with your personal information, and proving that you weren’t responsible for the credit and missed payments in question can be difficult. So, what should you do if you’ve been victimized by identity theft?

If you’re a victim of identity theft, don’t delay in acting. The faster you raise the issue, the quicker you’ll be able to get your credit report back on track and protect your future. Therefore, as you navigate the road forward after identity theft, you should consider taking the following steps:

  • Shut down accounts: If a thief is using your credit cards, then you should contact your credit card companies to have those cards deactivated. If, on the other hand, the thief clearly has access to your personal information and is opening accounts in your name, then you should continue to monitor your credit report and contact banks and companies that have erroneously opened accounts in your name so that those accounts can be shut down.
  • Contact the police and the Federal Trade Commission: By contacting these agencies, you can start creating a record that you didn’t open fraudulent accounts. This can go a long way toward correcting your credit report and righting your financial future.
  • Notify credit reporting agencies of a fraud alert: By placing a fraud alert on your credit reports, companies that are about to open accounts in your name will be alerted to the fact that your identity has been compromised. This will key them into the fact that they should request additional information proving that the account requestor is you.
  • Request a credit freeze: You can contact each credit reporting agency to place a freeze on your credit. Therefore, when a lending agency pulls your credit report, they’ll see that credit shouldn’t be extended to someone using your name. This prevents a fraudster from continuing to misuse your identity.
  • Take legal action when errors aren’t timely corrected: You have several consumer rights under federal and state law. When credit reporting agencies fail to abide by them, you can be negatively impacted by their lack of action. In these instances, you might need to take legal action to force the credit reporting agencies to remove harmful content from your credit reports. Successfully doing so will require knowledge of consumer finance protection laws, though, which is why many people who are struggling to resolve issues with a credit reporting agency choose to seek legal assistance.

Identity theft can quickly derail your future, but you can act now to protect yourself and right any wrongs that have occurred. The process can be frustrating and burdensome, for sure. However, you don’t have to navigate the intricacies of your case on your own, as you can surround yourself with those who can support you in your time of need and advise you as to your best course of action from a legal perspective.