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Identity Theft Action Plan

If you are a victim of identity theft, it's important to have a comprehensive action plan to mitigate the damage and protect your financial health. The four immediate steps to take are:

1. Contact the fraud departments of major credit bureaus. Request a fraud alert and a credit freeze to prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.

2. Report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Obtain a recovery plan and an Identity Theft Report.

3. File a report with your local police department and obtain a copy of the police report for your records.

  • Provide them with the Identity Theft Report from the FTC, any other evidence you may have, and proof of your identity.

4. Contact the SSA if your social security number has been compromised. https://www.ssa.gov/number-card/report-stolen-number

Follow-up actions you can take to ensure there is no further fraudulent activity are:

1. Notify your financial institutions.

  • Contact your bank, credit card issuers, and any other financial institutions where you have accounts.

  • Request to close or secure any compromised or potentially compromised accounts.

2. Change your passwords and PINs.

  • Update passwords and PINs for all your financial accounts, email accounts, and any online accounts.

3. Monitor your credit and accounts.

  • Regularly review your credit reports and account statements for any unauthorized transactions or accounts.

  • Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service.

4. Keep detailed records.

  • Document all communications, including dates, names, and phone numbers, related to the identity theft.

  • Keep copies of all letters and reports.

5. Consider a credit freeze.

  • Beyond the initial fraud alert, consider placing a credit freeze on your reports which stops access to your credit report by new creditors.

Preventative measures you can take to safeguard yourself in the future are:

1. Secure your personal information.

  • Store personal documents in a safe place. Shred documents with sensitive information before discarding them.

  • Be cautious about sharing personal information, especially online.

2. Regularly review your financial statements.

  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for transactions you do not recognize.

3. Update security on all your devices.

  • Ensure your computer, phone and tablet have up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software.

  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.

4. Stay informed.

  • Keep up with news on the latest scams and tactics used by identity thieves. Awareness can prevent future incidents.

By following these steps and maintaining vigilance, you can reduce the damage of identity fraud and protect your financial future. Act swiftly and keep detailed records of all actions and communications.