Unfortunately, my identity was recently stolen. Of course like any normal person I freaked out big time. “Omg, how did this happen”, “what do I do?” followed by some choice words. Of course in my mind I was figuring they were running around right at that moment opening credit accounts under my name. So I quickly tried to research what to do. I found a ton of advertisements of services to help me protect my ID such as Lifelock, but not really much of a game plan. So to help others I wanted to map out what I believe is the best things to do when your identity is stolen.
Get a Credit Report Asap- There are services that offer this for free and some you can pay for. It is up to you on which ones you want to do. But you want to first check to see if any accounts are on there, that are not your’s. If there are you should contact the credit company and explain that your ID was stolen. They will most likely cancel the account asap. Next check to see if there have been any “credit Inquiries” that are not your’s. A credit inquiry is when someone applies for an account. This will show if any has, then call that credit company to explain the same as before. Even thou an account may not appear on your credit report yet, a credit inquiry can mean that there will be one appearing soon.
Do a Credit Freeze- All three major credit Bureaus(Experian, Equifax, Transunion) allow you to freeze your credit. This means no one can pull your credit. This by itself will 100% keep someone from opening an account under your name. You will need to go to each credit bureau and order it to be done. The charge is about $10 per bureau, so $30 total. Now if you are a victim of identity theft and have a police report you can have this fee waived. But I can say personally that the $30 is worth it vs waiting for a police report to be done before having your credit frozen. Normally I would post a link to the website to do this for each credit bureau, but when it comes to this topic do not trust any links. Go to the credit bureau website yourself and look for “Credit Freeze”. I know you are thinking “what about when I do need my credit pulled?”. Great question, each bureau gives you a pin and you can contact them to remove the freeze temporarily so that you can get your credit pulled.
File a police report- While I would love to have the Police track down and catch the person who did this to me, I know they have way more important cases. So there maybe a slim chance of the criminal being caught. But more important is this police report documents that your ID was truly stolen incase you have to document it in the future.
I can tell you personally that this experience is not fun. But before you freak out and search the internet on what to do, I wanted to map out what I believe is the best plan when your Identity is stolen.