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Identity Stolen? Here are Some Helpful Tips

According to the Insurance Information Institute, someone in the U.S. fell victim to identity theft every two seconds in 2014. We hear about it all the time on the news — this store had a customer data breach, these people's emails were hacked, but would you know if it happened to you? Before purchases show up on your credit card that aren't yours, here are some helpful tips.

A open padlock, credit card and laptop.

  1. Order credit reports — Order your credit report from a credible, nationwide reporting agency. Review the reports for errors or signs of fraud, and then share the information with the reporting company. Equifax, Experian or TransUnion are great resources if you need assistance.

  2. Notice signs of fraud? Flag your credit report — If you notice some suspicious activity after reviewing your credit report from one of the above agencies, call and ask them to flag your credit report with a fraud alert. After doing so, the agency you call is responsible for alerting other agencies, and the alert is good for 90 days.

  3. Create an identity theft report — After finding evidence that your identity has been compromised, file a complaint with the FTC. Once you have the completed complaint, called an FTC affidavit, file a police report with the police. The FTC affidavit and police report are the two parts of your identity theft report.

  4. Contact your credit card company — Many credit card companies provide toll-free numbers to call in the event of an identity theft. Notifying them as soon as possible could help reduce your liability.

  5. Notify your financial institutions — Consider putting a fraud alert on your bank accounts including your retirement accounts to make sure all of your financial assets are protected.

  6. Check with your insurance agent — Some insurance companies provide identity theft protection in the event your identity is stolen. Check with your agent to see if you have this coverage available.

  7. Other organizations to alert could include the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, Utility Companies, or Health Providers.

After you experience an identity theft, there are steps you can take to repair your credit. Discovering you are a victim of identity theft can make anyone upset and worried, however, being prepared can help you fight it.

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