Tens of millions of people have their identities stolen every year. In fact, there were approximately 1.4 million reports of identity theft in the United States in 2020, a figure that is nearly double the amount reported in 2019. In other words, identity theft is a very real risk, and everyone is vulnerable. In this article, we discuss what to do if someone steals your identity.
File a report with the FTC and Police
If your identity has been stolen, you should immediately file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Although the FTC can’t pursue criminal charges, its information is often used by the police to track down identity thieves. You should also file a report with your local police department. Although the police department in your area may be of limited assistance if identity thieves stole your identity online or from overseas, it can help you if local thieves are to blame. When filing a report with the police department, you can use prefilled forms that you’ll receive after filing a report with the FTC.
File a Report With the IRS
If an identity thief used your Social Security number to file an income tax return, you should report this to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can accomplish this by submitting a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS.
Contact the Major Credit Bureaus
Identity theft can ruin your credit. Therefore, if someone has stolen your identity, you should contact the three major credit bureaus immediately and request that they place fraud alerts on your accounts. These alerts will stay on your credit reports for a year, and they inform any institution that reviews your credit reports that your identity may have been stolen.
Review Your Credit Reports and Initiate a Credit Freeze
In addition to informing the major credit bureaus that someone may have stolen your identity, you should also closely review your credit reports and consider initiating a credit freeze. When you review your credit reports, you should look to see if any accounts have been opened that you don’t recognize. In addition, if you initiate a credit freeze on your accounts, the credit bureaus will be prohibited from sharing your credit reports with those who request them. This will prevent requestors from accessing your reports before you’ve had a chance to correct them.
Contact an Attorney
Finally, if someone steals your identity, you should contact a consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, identity theft is the result of the failure of financial organizations and other businesses to protect your personal information. When a person or entity fails to protect your information, we will work to ensure that they are held accountable for their actions and that you are financially compensated for any losses you’ve suffered. Our experienced class action team has the experience and resources necessary to take on major corporations and big businesses on your behalf. Please contact us today for a consultation.