18 Jun What to Do When Your Identity Is Stolen
Seeing a charge on your credit card statement that you didn’t make is stressful. Identity theft is more common than you may think. Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft in 2018. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, follow these steps in order to clear your name and credit.
Shut down the problem account
Has your bank contacted you about unusual charges? If so, take a look at your financial account. The first red flag of identity theft is unauthorized charges. If your account has been breached, ask your bank to lock or close the account in order to prevent further charges.
Put a fraud alert on your credit report
Contact one of the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and request a fraud alert. The alert will last 90 days and will make it harder for the identity thief to open more accounts in your name.
Check credit reports
Request credit reports from all three reporting agencies and look for any accounts you may not recognize. Also, check payment history you cannot account for, and personal information unfamiliar to you.
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission
Go to the FTC’s website and fill out the ID theft complaint as well as the affidavit form, then print out for your records. The two forms, along with a police report, serve as your ID theft report. The report will help you dispute fraudulent accounts.
Report the theft to your local law enforcement officials. Then, get a copy of the police report. Make sure the police report lists all fraud accounts. Also, give the police a copy of the ID theft complaint form from the FTC.
Sign up for a credit monitoring service
In case of a data breach, you may be offered complimentary credit monitoring. These services watch for suspicious activity on your credit reports and send you an alert if a new account is opened under your name.
Open new credit card and financial accounts
As a safety precaution, you may want to close all accounts and open new ones in order to avoid future damage. The thief could possibly return in the future to regain control of your money, so talk to your financial institution, and decide whether or not closing your accounts is the best decision.
Change all account passwords
Arguably, the best way to keep all personal information safe is by regularly updating your online accounts. If you have a strong password that has a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, it’s less likely for your account to be hacked. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts, and delete your address and/or phone number from any public profiles or social media platforms.
Bank of the Lowcountry takes identity theft seriously, so if you are a victim of theft make sure to follow these steps and contact us at (843) 549-2265. If you notice any suspicious activity on your bank statement, call your bank immediately in order to keep your account safe.