In 2015, more than 13 million people were victimized by identity theft in the United States alone. While it is becoming easier to recognize potential identity theft and reduce the damage, it is better to prevent it from happening in the first place. We have provided a comprehensive course on how to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft. Often prevention comes too late and appropriate response is required. While many of these suggestions are consistent with preventing identity theft, when your information is stolen, these efforts become critical and immediate action must be taken. There are four specific things that you must do to respond to the theft of your identity.
First, call the police to make a report. This is an important step because your creditors will need to take any claims of your identity being stolen seriously. And having this report demonstrates that your information was actually stolen. Filing a false police report is a crime and doing so gives it appropriate credence. Once you have a copy of the police report, you can share it with different entities like the IRS, your bank or other creditors.
Next, put a credit freeze on your credit. As mentioned earlier, a credit freeze helps to stop anyone from opening a new credit account in your name. Before extending credit to you, any creditor will require a history of previous loans and other accounts that you’ve opened. By placing a freeze on your credit, you block anyone from pulling your credit report.
Third, establish new user identification and passwords for all of your accounts. It is important to have new user IDs and passwords, but this is worthless if they aren’t strengthened to decrease the chances of someone guessing what they are. A stronger password will be at least eight characters long, will not include your real name, will not contain any complete words, be significantly different from your other passwords and contain uppercase and lowercase characters, including numbers and symbols.
Finally, install the newest version of security software onto your computer. Thieves typically gain access to your computer through malware. When you accidentally open an email from someone you don’t know or download a document from a questionable website. Malware can provide feeds with access to your hard drive and passwords. Therefore, installing the latest antivirus software with appropriate firewalls can offer you the protection you need.
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