It's one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 1.5 million people reported falling victim to identity theft in 2010. And there may be many more victims out there, who don't even realize they've been hit.
Suzanne Klenk from Washington State Employees Credit Union joins New Day once again with crucial steps to take when your identity has been stolen.
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There are several warning signs.
- Accounts that show up on your Credit Report that you did not open
- Bills or collection notices for an account that you did not open
- You are denied credit due to a poor credit score, but the last time you checked, you had a good score.
- Inability to obtain services because records show you have already received those servicesSo,
What should we do if we find that we are victims of this crime?
- Get professional assistance. Contact your Credit Union and let them know you are a victim of ID Theft and take steps to protect your accounts with code words and a fraud alert.
- Report the crime to your local police department. You will need to fill out a police report and get a case number. Remember, your identity resides in your home. So when asked where the crime took place, the answer is your home.
- You need to file a fraud/ID Theft Alert with all three credit reporting agencies. This alert will only last 90 days, so it is important to follow up with an ID Theft Affidavit.
What is an ID Theft Affidavit and where do we get one?
The Federal Trade Commission is a fantastic resource for ID Theft Victims. Go to FTC.gov. There you will find the Identity Theft Affidavit. This document is paramount in your recovery and future prevention. Once filled out and notarized, this document will extend your fraud alert for 7 years at the credit reporting agencies. You will also send this document to all entities notified:
- Department of Retirement Systems
- Department of Social Security
- Your Human Resources Department
- DSHS, if you are working with them
- All of your creditors
What about Credit Monitoring Services?
Credit Monitoring Services are all over the place now. I would recommend contacting the Better Business Bureau before signing up with any service. Keep in mind that you can monitor your own credit for free, but if you would like someone else watching, you should do some research before signing up. Knowledge is power!
For more information on ID Theft Prevention and Recovery, go to FTC.gov.