What to Do If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Are You A Victim of Identity Theft?

a lock laying on top of a stack of cardsDon’t be careless when it comes to handling your personal information. Regularly keep track of what is going on with personal accounts such as your bank. Identity theft occurs more often than you might want to believe. It can be a lot to process when you find out you are a victim of identity theft. One thing you don’t want to do is let time pass. You’re getting calls from collection agencies and alerts of new accounts opening up under your name that you had no intention of opening. What do you do next?

Steps to Fight Back Identity Theft

Report Back To The Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help get to the bottom of who the perpetrator is that stole your identity. While the FTC can not handle the criminal side of identity theft, they can alert law enforcement such as the FBI. This should be one of the very first actions that you take if you want to get the FBI involved.

In order to file a report with the FTC, visit www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC will then create a report that can prove that your identity has been stolen which will make disputing fraudulent activity easier. You will receive a recovery plan, letters, and forms that will help with the recovery process to gain back your identity.

Alert Your Local Law Enforcement

With the paperwork that you received from the FTC, give a copy to your local law enforcement. Along with the documents that you received from the FTC, you want to be sure to bring in government-issued identification such as a passport or real ID card and proof of residency. It is also recommended to use collections notices if you have any to show local law enforcement that you are a victim of identity theft. This could help them track down anyone that is committing identity theft if done locally.

Notify the IRS

To notify the IRS that your identity has been stolen, you need to submit a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit. If the perpetrator has your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, there is a possibility that they could’ve partook in tax-related identity theft.

Place Fraud Alerts With The Credit Reporting Agencies

There are three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You don’t have to contact all three credit reporting agencies, just pick one. The agency that you choose to report to will let the two other credit bureaus know about your identity being stolen. Credit reporting agencies will gather any information about your credit use and keep track of any debt or bankruptcy cases.

When notifying any of the credit reporting agencies, make sure you place a request for fraud alerts. Fraud alerts are free and will last up to one year on your credit report for the purpose of making it more difficult for further identity theft to occur. Institutions that try to pull up your credit report within that year will be notified that you are victim of identity theft, requiring them to take an extra step to verify your identity. You can request a fraud alert by phone, online, or mail.

If you would like to take it a step further by freezing your credit, each credit bureau will have to be notified individually as opposed to one notifying the other two. Freezing your credit will prevent access to anyone requesting your credit report.


Equifax Alerts Experian Fraud Center TransUnion Fraud Alert


Equifax Consumer

Fraud Division

P.O. Box 105069

Atlanta, GA 30374



P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX 75013



TransUnion Fraud Victim

Assistance Department

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016

Clean Up All Your Personal Accounts

Any accounts that you have attached to your name and personal information such as any accounts with a financial institution, phone company, utilities company, etc. should be notified that your identity has been compromised. Cancel any fraudulent accounts and consider opening up new accounts that have been affected by your identity being stolen.

Use A Secure Document Destruction Company

Whether you have been a victim of identity theft before or have been lucky enough to never have experienced it, moving forward, making sure your private information stays private should be a top priority. Take the necessary steps and precautions to reduce the risks of your identity getting stolen. You can start by using a secure document destruction company like American Document Destruction, Inc. We are a local document shredding company in Reno, NV that is here to provide you or your business with HIPAA compliant document shredding services. We offer a variety of services from on and off-site shredding to hard drive destruction to even CSR readiness. Contact us today to get started on identity theft prevention!

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