Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Recovering From Identity Theft and other Identity Theft topics.
Victims of identity theft fraud often travel a long and frustrating road to recovery. Be prepared to spend hours checking bank and credit card accounts and statements, and prepare to be on the phone with your creditors to review, report, and repair the damage. Depending on the severity of the identity theft fraud damage, recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to years. Credit card fraud typically takes the least amount of time to recover from since accounts can be closed and new ones opened. However, when your social security number and other personal information is stolen, identity theft victims may have a much longer and more emotional road to recovery because victims could be turned down for a job, denied loan applications for car and home purchases, or even arrested for crimes they did not commit.
Identity theft restoration begins with cleaning up your credit report and determining how deep the theft has gone. Request copies of your credit report from the three reporting agencies and review every item to identify false or incorrect information.
File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a police report in the city of the crime's origin, and notify every creditor of fraudulent charges. Ask them to place a fraud alert or a security freeze on your account(s) or, better yet, close existing accounts.
Identity theft victims need to take action – quickly – to escape liability for unauthorized charges and to stop thieves in their tracks. Contact information:
Credit reporting agencies: Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289