Identity Theft - What to do if Private Information is Stolen - Part 4 (Audio)
If your personal information, such as your social security number, or other identification has been lost or stolen, it is vital that you be proactive and take immediate action to help reduce the threat of identity theft:
Call the toll-free fraud report line for any one of the three credit bureaus.
You only have to call one of the three bureaus below to begin a fraud alert and the bureau that you first contact is required to report the alert to the other two bureaus. These bureaus will then place an alert as well.
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
(800) 916-8800 or (800) 888-4213
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
After a fraud alert has been initiated in your credit file, you have the right to order free copies of your credit reports.
When you get your credit reports, go over them very carefully.
Keep an eye out for credit inquiries from companies you don't recognize and/or haven't contacted or new accounts that you didn't authorize, and debts on your accounts that you don't understand. Check to make sure personal information, like your SSN, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you discover fraudulent or inaccurate information, contact the credit reporting agencies to have it removed. For more information, you may refer to the Federal Trade Commission "For The Consumer" website at http://www.ftc.gov.
It is important to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis, especially for the first year after you discover identity theft, to verify that no new evidence of fraudulent activity appears on your credit reports.
In addition to placing a fraud alert on your credit files, it is also recommended that you close accounts that are compromised, such as credit card and bank accounts, immediately. When new accounts are opened to replace them, make sure they are protected with new passwords making sure these passwords include a combination of letters/numbers/symbols. You should avoid using your mother's maiden name, your birthday, the last four digits of your social security number, your phone number, or any series of consecutive numbers.
If your driver's license or other personal identification is lost or stolen, contact the DMV in your state and follow the appropriate steps to cancel the original license and have a replacement issued to you. You may request that the agency flag your file so that no other party can obtain a license or other official identification in your name.
Do you know what's in your credit report? Do you know your credit score? You can find out right now.
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