Identity Theft

3 Steps To Take When Your Identity Is Stolen

Steve Bucci
Written by Steve Bucci

A few years ago, I was traveling in a foreign country. On my way to a church service, my credit card was stolen by pickpockets. Back at my hotel an hour later, I called my card issuer and canceled my card. In one hour, some amateur street crooks charged $15,000 in goods to my card, including lunch at McDonalds. Imagine what a thief smart enough to steal your whole identity can do, not in a just few hours, but in a few days or weeks! That is why fast action is essential. The good news is that most of the places you need to contact to put an end to matters are open 24 hours a day, so a midnight call won’t wake anyone up.

Recovering from identity theft is almost always more time consuming and upsetting than you think. However, relying on others to solve a problem that is yours alone is sure to lead to even more disappointment and credit damage. The good news is that if your identity has been compromised you can repair and safeguard your credit on your own by following some simple steps that I outline in this article.

Emotions run high when you first find out that you have been victimized. Yet quick action is essential. So, to keep you on track in a time of stress I have divided your tasks up into three segments. To be successful you’ll need to first inform the right people and agencies quickly, second, take the appropriate steps to stop the damage from spreading and lastly work on repairing your credit.

1. Connect with the right people.

But who are they? Should you call the police to establish a formal record, or your creditors or perhaps the credit bureaus? My advice depends on what has been compromised:

If your bank accounts or credit cards have been hijacked, call your bank or creditors first.

If you have found out about accounts you never knew you had and didn’t open, call the credit bureaus first.

About the author

Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci has been helping people decode and master personal finance issues for over 20 years. He is the author of Credit Management Kit For Dummies, Credit Repair Kit For Dummies, and Co-author of Managing Your Money All-In-One For Dummies and Debt Repair Kit For Dummies (Australia). For over a decade he has authored a popular personal finance column. His advice has been featured on Fox Business News, Yahoo! Personal Finance, and countless newspapers across the nation.

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