As technology adaption among individual increases at an incredible pace, the threats of identity theft also match it at almost the same speed. According to a study on Identity Theft by Javelin, a research and advisory firm, the total losses from identity fraud totaling $16.9 billion in 2019. During the first half of 2019, FTC received 571,188 reports of identity theft, amounting to a median loss of $200. However, all internet frauds do not amount to identity theft because all security breaches do not end in identity theft. Identity theft is a social crime like impersonating someone by stealing the identity and then using it to swindle funds from bank accounts, tamper with tax returns and refunds, and other undertake online purchases.
By availing of some professional Identity Theft Protection Service, you can considerably reduce the threats, although it is difficult to eradicate it. If you happen to fall victim to identity theft, you can take some of the following steps to minimize damages.
Notify companies of the stolen identity
As soon as you detect some suspicious activity in some of your accounts, immediately call the company’s helpline to register a complaint about the fraudulent transaction undertaken without your knowledge. Suppose someone accesses your credit card number by taking over the account. In that case, the chances of accessing your personal information are much less, and calling the credit card issuer can prevent further damage. However, if you find someone using your personal information for opening a bank account, you must reach out to the right agencies for help. You must report misuse of your Social Security Number to the IRS if you find that it was used to file an income tax return.
File a report with FTC
Although the FTC cannot pursue criminal charges, you must report identity theft with FTC that compiles a report. The law enforcement agencies may use the information to track down perpetrators. You can file your complaint by visiting the FTC website. However, only identity theft that amounts to impersonating anyone is typical to report to FTC but not the stolen credit card number or other security breaches.
Since identity theft and security breaches are criminal activities, you must report it to the police immediately. The police report will protect you by creating a paper trail that is useful in future investigations for resolving the issue satisfactorily.
Freeze your credit
As initial protection of your accounts, as soon as you detect identity theft or security breach, initiate a freeze on your credit with individual credit bureaus that cut off access to your credit report. After that, the credit bureaus will not entertain any request to share your report.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
It remains valid for a year when placing a fraud alert on your credit report with the major credit bureaus. When an institution seeks access to your report, it triggers a notification that there are chances of compromise with your identity.
If you have identity theft insurance, you can file a compensation claim.