Identity theft is a growing crime in the USA, as according to FTC, 571,188 victims registered in 2020. However, they failed to save themselves from this crime, but the big thing is that many of the victims didn’t even know what to do when their identity was stolen. Many of the recent victims are still searching for real and relevant actions to take. Never skip any part of this article! If you are also one of them, you have landed in the right place, as here we will discuss here that what you should do if your id is stolen.
Steps To Be Followed When Your Identity is Stolen
If the identity thief has used your identity to take out a loan or a new credit card, then immediately contact your financial institution and notify them about what’s happening. So that they could immediately deactivate all the accounts, and you should save yourself from more losses.
Scan Credit Card and Bank Statement
You should also scan the bank and credit card statement of at least the previous year. Check for any unauthorized charges or any transaction which you don’t recognize. In this way, you will get to know when your identity was stolen or when the thief started using your identity for financial gains.
Tighten Security of Account
Ask your financial institution to tighten your bank accounts, as you can apply for a new pin or password and two-step authentication to access your bank accounts. It will save you from further losses, as the thief still has your identity.
Freeze Credit Report
If the identity thief has taken out a loan or used your credit card, then your credit score must be harmed. Freezing your credit reports immediately so no one can look out anymore in your accounts or financial activities is suggested. Ask the credit bureaus for a new pin or password so that you can stop freezing whenever you want.
Post a Fraud Alert
People think posting a fraud alert on credit files will harm their credit score more, but it doesn’t. The process saves the individual from a significant loss that will happen in the future as no other bank will issue any loan or credit card in your name if you have posted a fraud alert on your credit files. All three major credit bureaus will help you in this process; you can visit their official website or call them for more inquiries.
Equifax – 1-800-349-9960
Experian – 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872
Local Police Department
If the fraud amount is too significant, then maybe, police will come and arrest you. So before the police come to your home, you should go to their place and prove that you aren’t a criminal; you are a victim of identity theft. Although the crime isn’t big, it is good to contact your local police station, so that they can find out the real criminal.
File Report with FTC
The Federal Trade Commission is looking over this crime, and it is suggested to file a report on their official website immediately. You can also create an identity recovery request on the official website of FTC. Click here to file a report with the federal trade commission, USA.
Consider obtaining a court order to clear the criminal charges on your name if someone has used your social security number for tax fraud or broken any law. However, it is tough to prove yourself as a victim in court, but it is easier than spending tough nights in jail.
What are You Liable for if Your Identity is Stolen?
As a victim of identity theft, you have several rights, as any legal department can’t behave with you like they do with criminals. Here are some of the major rights for which you are liable if you had immediately reported the identity theft.
Any public court has to issue a notice on time so that you can be prepared for proceeding. If the court didn’t give you enough time, you could contact the FTC for this, or it is also good to give an application in the court considering you need time.
Be Treated Fair
You are liable to be treated with fairness and respect, as you have proved yourself as a victim of identity theft. If any officer or authority person behaves badly, you can raise a complaint against it in a public court.
You can also demand reasonable protection from the accused.
Work with Authorities
You are liable for working with FTC, sorting out all the matter, and recovering your identity. However, no authority, even the FTC, will help you, as you have to help yourself. Keep in mind; they won’t come to you, you have to go to their place.
Work with Debt Collection Agencies
When you have proved yourself as a victim of identity theft, collection agencies can’t threaten you anymore as you are liable to work with them to find out when the identity thief has committed fraud with this company. You can take help from the collection agencies to catch the real man behind it.
Limiting Financial Losses
If your credit report is harmed, then you have to work for years to gain a good score again, but you can limit your financial loss by contacting the FTC and debt collectors. According to the FTC, you will be liable for no more than the first fifty-dollar loss. In some cases, the victims aren’t required to pay any part of the loss if they immediately take the proper steps.
Free Statements and Credit Report
You are liable for issuing bank statements and credit reports from all three major credit bureaus, absolutely free as an identity theft victim. However, financial institutions usually charge a few dollars to provide statements.
All the companies, which are accused, have to provide the receipts of the transactions made by the identity theft using your name. However, you can also declare a 60-day deadline to the companies to provide all the receipts and transaction details.
How to Check if Someone is Using My Identity?
The ways to check whether someone using your identity or not are simple, as the crime alerts you regularly. You probably avoid the signs of identity theft. to know more about it you should check out, how identity theft happens.
Here are some of the signs of identity theft and ways to clear the suspicions.
Signs & Warning of Identity Theft:
If someone has stolen your PII, then you might not be able to stop them from committing a crime, but you can report if you get an idea that something terrible happened. Here are some of the signs, which will let you know that someone has stolen your identity and committed a crime or fraud on your name. Do not ignore these signs.
Credit identity theft
If you have noticed an unexpected change in your credit report or have received a debt collection notice or a court judgment on your name, then do not ignore it. You have to be concerned about it and report it before you get arrested.
Child identity theft
If your child is getting offers of a new credit card or text messages and phone calls for debt collection and late loan payment, then investigate it immediately. However, there are some chances that your child has been issued a credit card, and you don’t know about it. But on the other hand, maybe someone is using the identity of your child.
Synthetic identity theft
There are so many cases where a child applies for a student loan, and then they get asked to repay a past loan. It happened because someone had stolen their identity and taken a loan on their name. However, it is not preventable, as the thieves can apply for a social security card of your child with their identity. It is good to check the credit reports of your child regularly.
Taxpayer identity theft
If you are not able to e-file your tax, then immediately investigate the reason. Maybe there is someone who has already filled it and is planning to enjoy the benefits offered by the tax department, which are yours. Apart from this, if you received a notice of any activity in your IRS record and can’t recognize it, someone is probably using your identity.
Medical identity theft
If you received a claim confirmation from your medical insurance payment letter and didn’t recognize it, then it means you have fallen, victim. Someone is trying to claim your medical care benefits by mentioning false surgery or treatment. You have to immediately report this to your insurance company and area police station.
If you aren’t receiving any emails from your financial institutions and your password is changed, immediately change your credentials and report this. It is suggested to scan the transactions once; maybe you have fallen victim to financial fraud.
Criminal identity theft
If you are obtained from the police for any unclear query to you, then do not avoid it. Immediately go to the police for registering complaint and enquire what it is. Apart from this, if you have been denied promotion or employment because your boss has found something in your background, then investigate it. Maybe there is a crime reported on your name, which you have not done.
What to do if your social security number is stolen?
Your social security card involves valuable information for the identity thieves, as if it is stolen or lost, you should take immediate action. If someone misused your social security number, then your pain will be doubled. Here are the steps you should take if your social security number is stolen.
Contact Social Security Administration
The first step is to take or mail the documents you need to verify your citizenship to the social security administration office. Use the agency’s online office locator tool to find out the nearest one. Make a request that your social security number is stolen and ask to stop the services.
Freeze Credit Files
Immediately contact all three major credit bureaus and ask them to freeze your credit files. Credit freezing prevents access to your credit reports and bank accounts. One can also create my Equifax account to create a security freeze to their credit files.
Contact Federal trade commission
File an FTC identity theft report, as it will help you if someone uses your social security number to commit fraud. If someone does, then the FTC will provide the legal records of the theft. Click here to contact the FTC and save yourself.
Apply for New One
One can apply for a replacement of a lost social security card, as a citizen is allowed for free card replacement three per year or ten throughout the life. You have to create my social security account for the card replacement. , the last one will automatically deactivate, and no one can use it further for any purpose. It usually takes 10 to 14 days to receive your new social security card.
If You are a Victim of Identity Theft, How Much Do You have to Pay Back?
Well, even after proving yourself as a victim of identity theft, you may have to pay back in some cases. Although according to the FTC, you are not liable to pay the first 50 dollars, if you didn’t inform the company yet, then you have to pay the further loss.
It is because you must check your credit reports, credit card, and bank statements regularly. If you aren’t doing so, then it’s your fault, according to the authorities. However, all the departments will help you with further actions, but when it comes to recovering their debts, they will not help you.
How to report identity theft?
Whenever you realize that you are a victim of identity theft, immediately file a report of it. You can visit the authority office or file an online report by visiting the Federal Trade Commission official website. You should need all the relevant documents to prove your citizenship and yourself as an identity theft victim. Learn here what documents are needed to report identity theft. Furthermore, you can also visit your local police station to file a fraud report using your identity.