The unthinkable has happened. You've just learned that your identity was stolen. Now what?
First, don't panic. Panic is your worst enemy in any situation because it makes you take actions that aren't at all useful. Instead, try to remain calm and prepare to fight. It could take a long time before everything is back to normal, but the following steps can help you regain control of you identity.
Immediately After Discovering Your Identity Was Stolen
Discovering your identity was stolen is usually shocking. It's such a shock not just because it's been stolen, but also because the damage has already been done. And you usually find out when you receive a tax bill, have a credit or mortgage application denied, or when you're arrested for something that you didn't do.
One key to recovering from identity theft quickly is to act quickly. Reporting the theft to the right agencies is essential.Is It Identity Theft or Not?
How to Report Identity Theft
Reporting Identity Theft 101
Where's the Responsibility?
After the Initial Identity Theft Report
After you file identity theft complaints with the FTC and your local law enforcement agencies, what's next? It's hard to know how to proceed. Your first instinct is to fight problems as they arise. But there's a better way.
Instead of waiting to find out what areas of your life will be affected by identity theft, you can begin monitoring your credit report and managing any financial damages that have done. Since most identity theft is actually discovered because of the financial damage that's done, this is a very important step in your recovery.Recovering From Identity Theft: Repairing Your Credit Reports
Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit Fraud Alert
Credit Report Freeze
Understand Your Rights as an Identity Theft Victim
Even when you're moving quickly and handling everything properly, you'll encounter roadblocks on the way to recovering your identity. Some of those roadblocks can be cleared if you understand your rights as a consumer.Recovering from Identity Theft: Your Rights as a Consumer
What Congress is NOT Doing About Identity Theft
Identity Theft Red Flag Legislation
The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970
The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act
Don't Get Complacent Once Your Identity is Repaired
One mistake that identity theft victims make is assuming that once they've cleaned up the damage done by identity theft, it's over. Not true. In fact, it's not all that uncommon for identity thieves to strike the same victims over and over again.
One woman in Texas was repeatedly terrorized by identity theft for 10 years. Every time she cleaned up her credit, the thief that stole her identity in the beginning would create havoc for her again. To prevent thieves from striking repeatedly, you need to stay constantly monitor your credit and be vigilant against future identity theft attacks.Credit Reports: How to Monitor Your Credit Report
Credit Monitoring Services: Do They Protect You From Identity Theft?
Credit Monitoring Services