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If your identity has been stolen, don’t panic. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “An estimated 17.6 million Americans—about 7% of U.S. residents age 16 or older—were victims of identity theft in 2014.” Even the most diligent person can become a victim, as thieves are resourceful, driven and more tech savvy than ever.
Recovering after ID theft requires some work, but you can do it with the help of a step-by-step plan to limit the damage. Immediately freeze your accounts and change all your passwords. Document every step of your recovery effort, because paperwork and recordkeeping will be among your greatest aids. The following links provide sound guidance and steps to take if your identity has been compromised.
Regularly reviewing your credit report is an important way to stay proactive about guarding your information. As stipulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can receive a free copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
You can visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to order your report. Once you receive it, make sure all the information in your report is accurate. Your report will contain your identifying information, existing credit accounts, credit inquiries and public record information such as foreclosure or bankruptcy. Suspicious activity, incorrect information or unknown transactions should be flagged and reported to the credit bureaus immediately. Take a look at the links below to learn more about accessing and reading your credit report.
Taking steps to prevent thieves from accessing your personal information is the first line of defense against cyber criminals. Safeguarding your identity starts with knowing what thieves are looking for and how they could potentially use what they find. Your name and address, credit card or bank account numbers, social security number, insurance information, driver’s license number and passwords can be used to:
The links below offer valuable informative tips to help you keep your identity secure. Limit your risk to be a less likely target.