If you find yourself a victim of identity theft you must become immediately proactive in correcting the problem. This is one time you do not want procrastinate. Start fixing the problem and start on it now.
If the theft was the result of someone stealing your purse or wallet, the first thing you must do is file a police report. After you obtain the report, you want to copy this report several times and leave one in your car, put one in your new wallet, and leave a good supply at home.
The reason for this is that if the police stop you for some other reason such as a warning for a broken taillight, you do not want to spend time in jail. If the person who has stolen your identity is caught by the police while carrying out some other crime, if they are holding your identity they will hand over your credentials when questioned.
Once the authorities release that individual on bond, he or she will probably never show at their court hearing. Guess who will have an arrest warrant against them later? Yep, you guessed it. You will. This is why it is important to always carry the police report of the theft of your wallet. It is not a guarantee against a false arrest of this nature, but it will go a long way in helping your case.
The first thing to do after losing or having your wallet stolen, it is to cancel all of your credit card accounts and have them replaced. You will also need to replace all of the other documents in your wallet such as your driver’s license and any other identification.
The question becomes one of remembering what was in your wallet. Here is a suggestion, but you need to be careful with this. Take your wallet and scan everything in it. Take the scanned document and secure it in a very safe place. Anyone obtaining this document would have all the information as if they had stolen your wallet.
After the police report, replacement of your identification, and the closing of your charge card accounts, the next thing you have to do is place a fraud alert against your name. You can do this by calling one or all three of the credit bureaus.
This is an important step in protecting your identity. Basically what the fraud alert does is add another layer of security to your credit. It can be a cumbersome process, but after having lost your identity, it is well worth the safeguard.
With the fraud alert placed against your name, whenever you try to open up a new account, the credit bureau will contact you at the location you have given them in order to authorize the new credit line. In setting up the fraud alert, you will supply the credit bureau with the answers to several challenge questions. If they don’t get the correct response to the questions over the phone, they will not authorize the credit.
You can contact the credit bureaus directly by Internet or phone. They are: Experian at http://www.experian.com or 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion at http://www.transunion.com or 1-800-680-7289; and Equifax at http://www.equifax.com or 1-888-766-0008. Another thing you may consider is credit and fraud protection, commercial company such as LifeLock.
Here’s hoping never have to use any of this information.
© 2010 J. Clark