How do You Fix Identity Theft?

The very idea of identity theft either really scares people, or is dismissed as being a bit of a project fear campaign. This is often because of a misunderstanding of what the term identity theft can mean. It can either mean wholesale theft of someone’s identity, credit card fraud, tax fraud, child benefit fraud etc.

The first step in fixing identity theft is to stop any more fraud occurring once you have discovered that it has taken place. This is in part about damage limitation, but also making sure that you put a block on a continuing and recurring crime.

Fixing identity theft first of all depends upon identifying where the theft has occurred. This means clarifying which companies have been involved in terms of where your personal or financial details have been held, and notifying them some type of fraud has occurred.

This means that once you have notified these companies they should be able to put a stop on your account, meaning that no new fraud activity should be allowed, and if it is you should not be held liable for it. This may also mean closing your accounts completely and opening new ones with new account numbers and names.

Fraud Alerts on Credit Reports

It is important to notify one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Which ever one you contact, they will notify the other two. They can put a fraud alert on your credit report, which makes it much harder for anyone to open any type of account in your name.

FTC

If living in the US, notify the FTC who have a specially dedicated website where identity theft can be notified and help sort and given. If living in Canada or any other country, check to see if the government has a national or federal system for registering cases of identity theft.

Most countries recognise that identity theft is quite often a national issue, and quite often an international issue, and have taken steps to make sure that as broad a range of help as possible is available.

Police

Many people will notify the local police department or law enforcement agency, that a crime has been committed.

Some people do not bother as they think there is little that the police can do about it. However, as with any crime, notifying the relevant law enforcement agency is always a good idea. They have experience of all types of crime and may be able to offer practical advice, as well as being involved in helping to solve it in different ways.

The above steps are in many ways about trying to prevent further criminal activity once the case of an identity theft has been realised and recognised. The next step is to try and limit the damage that has already been done, and try to claim back compensation for crimes committed in the individual’s name.

New Accounts

Quite often identity theft is about someone’s identity having been stolen, and new bank or financial accounts opened in their name. These accounts are then used to obtain loans or credit on a fraudulent basis. The first step for is to get these accounts closed. Identifying where these accounts are can sometimes be quite tricky, but it is important that this is done quickly.

Stress to the bank financial institution that an identity theft has taken place, and that these accounts need to be frozen and closed. Obtain written confirmation by post or email the bank institution has complied with your request.

Removing Fraudulent Charges

Once the account has been identified as fraudulent, the next step is to  have all charges on that account removed from your name. This means  making sure the bank financial institution has complied with your request as above close account, and in so doing all charges from your name.

This may sometimes be quite difficult to achieve.  Depending upon whether it is a bank or credit card company or other type of financial institution they may have committed a significant amount of money to this bogus account, and may be reluctant to simply write it off on the basis that you are saying it is a fraudulent account.

This is where identity theft can get complicated, as sometimes banks or credit card companies will take the attitude that it is possible you are simply trying to get out of repaying a loan or credit card by claiming identity theft. It can sometimes be quite a tortuous process to prove it.

Identity Theft Insurance

Many companies offer some type of identity theft insurance, either as a stand-alone policy, as part of a home insurance policy or as part of a crime prevention policy. The coverage under all these types of policy is normally fairly similar, and although clear as to what it is, is in many ways not that helpful.

The main type of insurance cover normally helps people by providing assistance in the areas mentioned above. This can be about contacting banks and financial institutions where fraud has occurred, notifying the main credit bureaus and liaising with various regulatory bodies and agencies where appropriate.

There is also quite often some type of credit monitoring service available, or made available for a certain period of time.

There is normally some type of financial indemnity that can relate to attorney fees with regard to legally unpicking some of the above areas

 

 

 

 

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