Identity theft is a major problem in a world that depends on technology. There are millions of people that have fallen theft to identity theft and thousands more that are victimized each year. While it can be the biggest pain of some people’s existence, it can be prevented and the damage can be repaired.
Most people don’t realize they have become an identity theft victim until the bills start coming in or they start seeing their credit suffer. Because not everyone monitors their credit, there are some people that aren’t aware they are a victim for years. No matter when people become a victim, there are things that can be done to fix the issues that come along with it.
Prevention and Protection
One of the first things that people should do is begin monitoring their credit report when they turn 18. This is very important because those that monitor their credit report will find things much earlier than those that don’t. If there are mysterious accounts that begin appearing on credit reports, it’s easier to see with regular monitoring.
Monitoring credit isn’t enough to prevent identity theft though. People should also be very careful with their personal identification information. Don’t give out social security numbers, id numbers, bank account information and other personal identification information unless it is necessary. These things should be guarded at all times. When it’s guarded, it’s harder for thieves to get to it and use.
When people are out shopping or enjoying themselves, they should always be aware of their surroundings and belongings. It is very easy for those that are unaware to become victims. Instead of taking every credit card on a shopping trip, take one. When hanging out with friends, only take an id and a certain amount of cash or one specific pre-paid card to use.
Intervention and Correction
Victims of identity theft should go to the police as soon as they become aware of it. This is something that is very important most victims choose not to do. Going to the police with the complaint will start laying the legal foundation to avoid paying debts that are the result of fraud. There are some that skip this step and find themselves paying the debts anyway.
Once the police report has been found, it’s time to contact all 3 major credit bureaus. Copies of the police report should be mailed to each of the bureaus and a freeze or alert be placed. When credit bureaus have this information, they are able to monitor the given social security number and prevent any illegal activities from happening. Not only will it prevent illegal activities, it will also help get things removed someone’s credit report that were fraudulently reported.
Identity theft victims should also take their police report to their banks as well. This will help prevent money being taken from their account. Most banks will be happy to close an existing account and open a new account to prevent theft from their customers. These victims should call their credit card companies as well to report the theft.
During the process of notifying or monitoring, if there is fraud activity noticed, it’s important to dispute it. When it’s disputed, it can be removed faster and the effects of having it on a person’s credit report will be small.
Identity theft happens. There is no way to stop it from happening to everyone but there are ways to make sure the damage is minimal. Identity theft victims don’t have to live with someone else’s criminal decisions forever.