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Identity Theft Repair
The Action Steps to Take

Just as important as knowing prevention is knowing steps for identity theft repair, so that you can take immediate action if you think your information has fallen into the wrong hands.

If you think you are a victim of identity theft, don't panic; get working right away to restore your good name. It takes time and effort, but solving identity theft problems is possible.

Be Alert

First, be alert so that you can recognize identity theft right away. If you are following good prevention tactics, such as keeping track of billing cycles and reviewing your credit statements and report, you are in a good position to see identity theft.

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If you think your information may have been stolen but not used yet, keep an eye out for accounts opened or purchases made in your name. Watch for inaccurate information on your credit reports, denial of credit, missing bills, and credit cards you didn't apply for.

Reporting the Theft

The next step to identity theft repair is to contact the right people. If the theft involved financial information, call the credit reporting bureau, bank, and credit card company to get a fraud alert on your account and close tampered-with accounts.

Also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and get advice.

If the theft involves your Social Security number, call the SSA to check the earnings attributed to your number. If from this call you find that someone is receiving wages under your SSN, contact the IRS Identity Protection Unit to avoid someone else filing your return before you do.

Log on to the Internet Crime Complaint Center to register your complaint there as well. Finally, contact the local police where the theft occurred.

Keep Accurate Records

While all this is going on, keep records. Send a registered letter to follow up calls to banks and credit card companies with a return receipt request. Include copies of related paperwork in your letter, but keep originals yourself.

Keep records of all phone calls and originals of all financial statements that show the fraud. Be able to show each agency why you suspect fraud, and keep proof from each agency showing that you filed the proper complaints.

Identity theft repair is well worth your time and effort. The process may be frustrating at times, but by acting quickly, contacting the proper agencies, and keeping good records, you can get your personal and financial history back on track.

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