It seems as if a day doesn’t go by without hearing about a cybersecurity breach. We trust businesses to use the highest protocols in protecting our personal and financial information. In addition, we do everything to ensure we are using secure passwords, and have the best cybersecurity software on our personal devices.
Despite all of our efforts, identity fraud amounted to $1.48 billion in losses for over a million people in 2018.
When your identity is stolen it leaves you feeling violated and helpless. Depending on the depth of the act, it can be devastating. Unfortunately, the acts of others force us to be more diligent when it comes to protecting our identity. Fortunately, Soft Pull Credit is here to help protect your identity. Find out what our $1 million identity insurance can do for you.
Keep reading to learn 10 things you need to do if you are a victim of identity theft.
1. Alert Authorities if Your Identity is Stolen
The first thing you should do upon learning you are a victim of stolen identity is to alert the authorities. There are several steps you’ll need to take and organizations that will need to be notified.
Gather as much information about the theft and who may have stolen your identity. Follow these steps to notify the proper authorities.
File an FTC Report
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Report is a tool consumers use to report fraudulent activity. You can file a complaint on their website or by calling the Consumer Response Center at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
The FTC is more about data collection that is used for compiling data on consumer experiences and to detect trends. However, the questions you’ll be asked will resemble those on a police report and can oftentimes take the place of a police report.
Notify Your Police Department
Consider going to the authorities to file a stolen identity report. This is reporting in addition to the stolen identity fraud report you will file with the FTC.
It is recommended that you contact your local police department when you know who has stolen your identity and are willing to have the person prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
These types of incidents include but are not limited to:
- Someone using your social security number to obtain credit
- Unauthorized use of your credit cards or bank card
- Placing utility services in your name without permission
- Giving your name and information during a traffic stop
- Opening a bank account in your name
Reporting someone you know and care deeply about, to the police can be extremely depressing. It is important to remember identity theft is a crime. Someone is using your personal information for their gain. If not stopped, a small transgression can lead to a bigger issue that could lead to legal problems for yourself.
Notify the IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes that identity theft is among the fastest-growing crimes in the country. They have measures in place to assist taxpayers when their identity has been stolen.
If the perpetrator has gained access to your social security number he or she can not only wreak havoc on your finances. These thieves can also file fraudulent tax returns in your name.
The IRS has increased its review processes to capture things like significant increases in your annual income. They will notify you if more than one return has been received. You may also catch things like owing taxes when you normally receive a refund.
You will be required to complete an Identity Theft Affidavit, also known as a Form 14039. Identity theft affecting your tax returns could mean you can no longer file your taxes online. Additionally, an IRS Identity Protection PIN will be assigned to you.
2. Protect Your Accounts
The first line of defense for protecting your identity is to implement safeguards to protect your social security number and all financial and online accounts. This includes your email accounts and logins and passwords.
Related: Why Soft Pull Credit?
Here are some steps you can take.
Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
Many industries are implementing fraud alerts to protect users. It is important to take advantage of these tools and agree to be notified by email and text message.
Fraud alerts will notify you when new accounts have been opened in your name. You’ll also get alerts when there are inquiries to your credit report and changes to your credit score.
Freeze Your Credit
There are two ways to initiate a credit freeze. The most common is when you suspect suspicious activity on your credit or debit cards. Notify the card issuer and request a freeze be placed on the account. This will prevent any unauthorized purchases on the card.
In the event, you find a misplaced card or recall a purchase you had forgotten about, the freeze can be removed. If the card was actually stolen, cancel the card and have the provider issue a replacement.
The second way is to issue a credit freeze on your credit reports. This type of credit freeze makes it nearly impossible for someone to access your credit information. Although it cuts down on fraud, it means anytime you apply for credit or apply for certain types of employment, you’ll need to contact the bureaus to unfreeze your report.
Put Security on Your Accounts
Do your part in securing your account. Do not use passwords that include dates significant to you, which mirror your email address or user ID, or the same password on multiple accounts.
Utilize authentication steps offered by websites, card issuer or financial institutions. Participate in two-step authentication, such as security questions and security codes.
3. Check for Mystery Accounts
Just because you haven’t noticed unusual activity on your accounts doesn’t mean you haven’t experienced a security breach. Individuals must do their own due diligence to protect their identity from fraudulent activity.
Review Your Credit Reports
Credit agencies provide consumers with annual free credit reports. It is recommended that consumers take advantage of this opportunity. Although this is a good feature it still is not enough. You need to review your credit reports throughout the year.
You can do this by signing up with a credit monitoring service which gives free access to standard information throughout the year.
Scan Credit Card and Bank Statements
In the digital era companies are making it easy for consumers to turn off paper statements that come in the mail. Instead, consumers can receive emails alerting them when monthly statements are available. Consumers then log in to their accounts and download a PDF.
Make it a habit to scan your statements for any unusual purchases. Sometimes criminals will make small purchases just to see if consumers are paying attention. Once they become comfortable, they make their move.
4. Open New Accounts and Change Passwords
When you suspect fraudulent activity on your accounts consider closing the existing account and opening a new one. Your bank or credit card provider will issue a new account number and new credit or debit cards.
You will also want to change the passwords on all of your accounts because you do not know the extent of the breach.
5. Protect Your Identity with Soft Pull Credit
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the value of credit protection programs until after they have become victims of identity theft. You need the same level of concern as you do when it comes to protecting your smartphone, car, home, and health.
Soft Pull Credit has a team of certified specialists that are ready to serve you in the event someone steals your identity. Here is a list of what you can expect when you need identity restoration.
During your initial consultation, we’ll gather information to determine the nature of the theft. Once we’ve determined you have had your identity stolen, we will:
- We will contact the issuer of the compromised account
- Bank accounts
- Credit card providers
- Insurance providers
- Internal Revenue Service
- Social Security office
- Contact local law enforcement office
- Review your credit reports
- Initiate fraud alerts
- Initiate credit freezes
Soft Pull Credit also offers identity insurance to cover out-of-pocket expenses related to theft and recovery. This coverage has zero deductibles and up to $1 million in coverage for the following:
- Attorney and legal fees
- Childcare expenses related to the restoration process
- Elderly care expenses related to the restoration process
- Lost wages or other income
- Refiling processes for
- Lines of Credit
Insurance is provided by a third-party vendor. In addition to insurance coverage, we also provide:
- Case managers to assist you through the process
- Investigators skilled in fraud and identity theft
Restoring your credit is our only priority and we’re prepared to address your case from every front.
Get Help for Your Stolen Identity
If you ever have the unfortunate experience of having to rebuild after your identity is stolen, help is available. The Soft Pull Credit platform comes with a full-service restoration team equipped with helping customers restore their credit after they have experienced identity theft.
Get protected today! Click here to learn more about our protection plans and to get enrolled.