Around nine million Americans are the victim of identity theft every year according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Thieves use the stolen information to apply for credit, sign leases, buy cars, obtain government documents, or establish phone or utility services with no intention of paying on those accounts. That negative information can then impact the victims’ credit report and often goes unnoticed until they are called by a debt collector or denied for a loan because of bad credit.
If you find that you have become a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
- File a police report.
- Provide a copy of the police report to major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This will give you some legal protection by blocking any further harmful information appearing on the report.
- File an ID Theft Complaint with the FTC.
- Contact all of your financial institutions.
- Contact an attorney who is experienced in handling identity theft cases.
For helpful tips about preventing identify theft and protecting your personal information, please go to http://www.ftc.com.