If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of being a victim of identity theft, it is essential that you take steps immediately to make sure the situation does not get out of control or to a level that is difficult to recover from.
Here are the steps you need to take:
1.) Contact your bank
Before you do anything at all, contact your bank and let them know that your account has been compromised. Your bank will close down all credit cards and start monitoring activity on your account to verify with you which purchases are genuine and which are fraudulent and ask you questions about recent spending to make sure they can track at which point your account was compromised and where the person who is using your identity could possibly be. They will also cancel all of your plastic and send new ones in the post.
2.) Change all of your passwords
Whatever you have that needs to be accessed via password needs to be changed, and that means email accounts, social media accounts: every account that you have change the passwords,
3.) Contact the police
If you have been a victim of identity theft then this needs to be reported as a crime. Although there is often little that the police can do, it is important that the crime is reported and an investigation takes place to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to others.
4.) Contact companies that may have been involved
If you have noticed expenditures on your account, which have not been allowed by you, then the next thing to do is to contact those companies and let them know that the transactions are fraudulent. Most companies will have some kind of fraud prevention mechanism in place, and this is especially true if they have taken payments online or over the phone. Companies that have accepted payments that are fraudulent are victims too, and they need to know what is happening.
5.) Inform the post office
One of the common ways that criminal steal identities is by intercepting the post and so it is important that the post office know identity theft has occurred so they can monitor post, or report of any similar crimes in your area to help the police.
6.) Get your credit report
The best way to find out the extent of the damage by identity theft is to check your credit report with a credit reference agency. You can contact these agencies by phone, and they will be able to tell you if any accounts have been opened in your name, any debts that have been registered and any loans that have been taken out.
7.) Start recording all of your activity
From the moment that you have discovered you are a victim of identity theft, start recording all of your activity starting with your first call, to any emails and phone calls that follow. Not only will this be useful should the matter be of a large scale, but it will also act as proof that you are not personally responsible for any debts that have been taken in your name, they also act as a cut off point of any illegal activity and you.