Identity theft is a quickly growing crime in a time where so much information is readily available. Everyday people share personal information on social networking sites and through E-mails without even considering what they are doing.
Finding that you are the victim of identity theft is very scary. Something as personal as your identity has been compromised and used and abused by a faceless stranger. Chances are pretty good that the theft has been going on for some time without you even knowing about it.
Identity theft is scary, and it is easy to feel victimized and paralyzed into inactivity, but the most important thing you can do is to take action immediately. You may feel all alone, but there is help out there for you.
The first thing to do is to contact those people that are there to help. The financial institution where you first realized the theft should be your first stop. Contact them and block the compromised account.
Immediately your next action should be to contact the credit bureaus. Review your credit file carefully and dispute anything that is not yours. You can place a fraud alert on your account, making it harder for anyone trying to steal your identity to be able to do so. You can contact any of the three; Equifax, Experian, or Transunion and they should contact each other, but don’t let that stop you from contacting them all yourself.
You should also contact the police department and let them know everything you know. They will file a report, and anything that you have received from the financial institutions and/or the credit bureaus should become part of their report.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plays a very active role in the war against identity theft. They provide resources on preventing identity theft and on recovering from the crime. You can file with the FTC directly as well, helping the FTC in their efforts to combat identity theft.
The FTC website is a fountain of help. It should be your main source of information and your greatest resource. It is an invaluable partner for you.
In the event that you are the victim of identity theft, there are many places to go to get help. You need to take advantage of these resources to help you through this difficult situation. Your allies in this are the financial institution, the credit bureaus, the police, and the FTC.
Each will play an important role in helping you when you find that you are the victim of identity theft.