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What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft
Have you ever been a victim of identity theft or know someone who has? If so, you realize full well what a royal pain in the backside it is, and the damage that was done to your reputation and your credit report will take years to resolve.
Now that you know what can be the result of identity theft, you can look back and probably recognize various things you could have done differently to protect yourself more fully. Please understand that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our current high-tech society, and precautions you took 5 or 10 years ago need to be modified to be effective today.
Usually, by the time the victim realizes that his identity has been used, the identity thief has long since disappeared from the face of the planet, leaving a wake of damage to the victim's name and credit report. The laws in this country are only now starting to realize that new laws need to be enacted to protect consumers from this type of theft, as well as making additional provisions and avenues for those who are victims. In Texas, a law was passed to limit a consumer’s credit freeze privileges until they can prove that they have been a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud. That is very similar to saying that you cannot buy a lock until you can prove that your house has been broken into, at which point it is too late!
If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, the very first thing you need to do is to contact all of your lenders, including credit card companies, department stores, gas stations, your mortgage lender and your bank and let them know what happened. Depending on their policies, they may require you to fill out some paperwork.
One of the best things you can do at this time is to get a notebook and start taking very detailed notes. When you call your credit card company to report this, note the date and time of your call, and write down the name of the person you spoke with. Do this for every account you contact to alert them of what has happened. While you are talking with each one, ask them exactly what is covered if charges are discovered on your account that you yourself did not do. Sometimes all or some charges are covered by insurance, but other times there is no coverage.
Although the laws are changing, you should still contact the police and get legal help. Frequently, as unbelievable as it sounds, the police will not even open an investigation or become involved. The really strange part of this is that if they arrested someone who was “you” via identity theft, they could then come and arrest the REAL you if you did not show up at a court hearing.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you need to take action and take it NOW. Delays only allow the thief to get further away and drastically lessen the possibilities of finding them. For more tips about what to do about identity theft and measures you can take to prevent identity theft from happening in the first place, please visit our web site.
About the Author: Jon is a computer engineer who maintains web sites on a variety of topics based on his knowledge and experience. You can read more about Identity Theft Advice at his web site at Prevent Identity Theft.