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How to Repair Your Credit if You Are the Victim of Identity Theft
Author: John Campbell
If you’re ever a victim of identity theft you will need to take immediate action to repair the damage done. Depending on how long someone may have stolen your identity, the damage could be more extensive than you even realize.
Any irregularities on any of your financial statements – unusual charges on your credit cards, large withdrawals on your credit or checking account you don’t remember placing - are huge red flags that your identity may have been compromised.
If you suspect any fraud may have occurred with any of your bank or credit accounts contact any one of the three major credit bureaus’ fraud departments. Listed below is the contact information for each of the national credit bureaus’ fraud departments:
P.O. Box 740241
P.O. Box 2002
Trans Union LLC
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
For faster assistance you should just call one of the credit bureaus. As soon as you let one of the bureaus know fraud may have taken place the other credit bureaus will be notified automatically. Each of the credit bureaus should also send you a copy of your credit report free of charge.
As soon as you get your credit reports you will need to scour through them and highlight anything that looks unusual. Any new addresses attached to your name or new credit accounts you are unfamiliar with should be disputed immediately. Any new listed addresses you have never lived at should also be reported to your local postal inspector. Your mail could be getting sent to someone else in a worst case scenario.
You should also file an ID theft affidavit with any creditors you are certain you never opened accounts with. These affidavits are located at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/pdf/affidavit.pdf
If you have evidence that anyone has used your accounts in your name fraudulently you will want to file a police report as well as a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You should include a copy of the police reports you file with any ID theft affidavits you send to creditors.
If you can, try to get a copy of any fraudulent applications used to open new credit accounts in your name. This will help prove that someone else forged your signature and will help you get these accounts stricken from your credit report.
Last, but definitely not least, you will want to keep records of all your interactions with police and the various financial institutions you may have to deal with. This will help you out a lot if you have to consult with an attorney or have someone prosecuted for stealing your identity.
If you are a victim of identity theft, the sooner you find out about the theft the better off you’ll be. Check your credit reports quarterly and keep a watchful eye for
Checking your credit reports quarterly and keeping a watchful eye on all your financial statements may help you quickly discover if someone is trying to steal your identity. The sooner you know someone is attempting to steal your identity, the faster you may minimize any potential damage.
The steps you take to combat identity theft could prove the difference between someone running your finances and credit into the ground or being locked behind bars as they deserve.
John Campbell is the writer and editor of CashBuzz, A financial portal for the rest of us. Check out cashbuzz.com for the latest articles on money management and tips and tricks that can help improve your finances. This article may be reprinted on your Web site if the copyright, author information and active link are included.
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