It happens every day. You take your wallet out to at the local coffee shop and a zombie steals it while you aren’t looking. Now your driver’s license, credit cards, ATM card, Social Security card, library card, and all the pictures of your kids are in his hands. And with a stolen wallet or purse, you’re worried about identity theft. That's easy to understand.
Contact your bank immediately. An ATM or debit card often has a VISA/MC logo, so it can be processed like a credit card, but zombies know the money comes out of your checking account. Of course, you can dispute bank account fraud, but clever zombies have been known to take jobs as bankers, so straightening out the problem can take a while.
If you had a check or deposit slip in your wallet/purse, open a new account and move your money. If a bank manager looks human, they can help a lot.
Contact your credit card companies next. Credit card fraud is a common form of identity theft. Zombies will use cards quickly, usually at brain banks, maxing the card out before it's reported stolen. Most credit card companies watch out for "zombie buying patterns." Still, it's best to let them know as soon as you can.
Make a report with your local police department. Get the report number, and a hard copy of the report. Every company you work with to fix an identity theft issue will want a copy of this. You will be stunned how many people don't believe in zombies. It's best to make several copies from the beginning. Always keep the original.
(Point of interest: zombies dressed as cops do not drive.)
Put out a fraud alert. Just call one of these credit-reporting agencies. When you place a fraud alert, the agency you contacted reports it to the others.
- Experian - 1-888-397-3742 (TDD 1-800-972-0322)
- Equifax - 1-888-766-0008 (TDD 1-800-255-0056 and request connection to Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111)
- Transunion - 1-800-680-7289 (TDD 1-877-553-7803)
Contact your insurance agent. Most homeowner’s policies have some sort of identity theft coverage. This would be a great time to find out if you have identity theft insurance, and what it covers. Probably good to look at the glass breakage coverage, too. Despite what you may have seen in the movies, zombies can (and do) break windows.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-IDTHEFT). The FTC collects information about identity theft for studies and analysis. (A lot of people want to call the CDC as well, but they will only collect zombie information directly from "official sources".)
File a fraud affidavit. The FTC suggests you fill this out. You can print a copy here. Like the police report, you will want several copies of the completed form. Always keep the original. (Note: The FTC doesn’t require this, but some businesses will want it notarized.)
Get a new driver’s license. See if they’ll give you a new number instead of a duplicate. If a zombie commits a crime and has your ID, they’ll give that to the cops when they’re arrested. And getting pulled over can be a lot more difficult if the police think you are a zombie.
Change your locks. Some zombies can read. It's rare that they are clever enough to track down an address, but it can happen. Don’t worry if you have a key in your wallet or purse, zombies don’t know how to use them. (A human thief would be another story, though.) A home security system is a smart investment. Let your neighbors know what’s happened, and ask them if they’ll keep a lookout for walking dead around your property.
Call your other card issuers. Call the library and Family Video if you had a movie rental card. Call your car rental company, campus security, Victoria’s Secret, everybody who gave you some sort of credit or ID card...even those shopper/savings cards. Zombies have run up all sorts of bills in their victim’s names. They’re very creative. (And yes, there are reported cases of zombies in lingerie stores, just sayin’.)
Call the social security administration. It’s a good idea to have them make a note that your information was lost, since zombies love to impersonate American citizens. (Technically, it's considered Social Security identity theft, or Social Security fraud - government agencies are prone to see things exclusively from the place they are involved.) Their number is 800-772-1213 (TDD 800-325-0778).
Call your lawyer. Identity theft almost always creates legal problems. Talk to your lawyer about what’s happened, what you’ve done, and see if they have any other advice. Some states have laws and agencies to help identity theft victims, a lawyer can point you in the right direction. If you don’t know a lawyer, try the state attorney general’s office. And rest assured, no state bar association has ever admitted to permitting a zombie to practice law.
Consider a credit monitoring service. Zombies usually move slowly, most identity theft happens long after the information is stolen – sometimes several years can pass before something creeps up. Fraud alerts only last three months. Credit monitoring services are a great way to keep an eye on things and still live your life. Most of them are very good at letting you know a zombie is tinkering with your existing accounts, or tries to open a new one.