What Should You Do If You Are The Victim Of Identity Theft?

    The afternoon of New Year’s Eve, I received a message from a bill collector on my cell phone.  I immediately called them back because I have good credit and I take my financial obligations seriously.  They went on to tell me that a cable television account that I opened in California was in collections because I had not paid the bill.  Now, there was only one problem, I’ve never been to California so I knew that my identity had been compromised.

    After a long discussion with this collector, I found out that a woman used my maiden name and my social security number to open a cable account at least three times since 2010 in the state of California and eventually defaulted on the account.  This was shocking because I’ve never shared my personal information with anyone without being cautious and I couldn’t believe that this had been going on for so long without my knowledge.  I really felt violated that someone had stolen my identity this way.

    Since this has never happened to me, I had to do some research and ask around in order to educate myself about how I could not only rectify this situation, but also protect myself and my credit history moving forward.  Luckily, there is a lot of information out there about what one should do if they are the victim of identity theft.  Also, another thing I learned is that a lot of people are victims of fraud and many of them don’t even know that it is happening until it’s too late.  In my case, I never would have found out what was happening if the collection agency had not notified me so this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

*Image Credit-www.identitytheft.info

Here are some things you should do immediately if you are the victim of identify theft:

  • Contact the fraud departments of all three major credit bureaus,  www.equifax.comwww.experian.comwww.transunion.com
  • Close any accounts such as credit cards that you think have been compromised due to identity theft.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
  • The Federal Trade Commission can provide you with important consumer information if you are the victim of identity theft.

    If you think having your identity stolen can’t happen to you, think again.  It’s important that you monitor your credit report regularly to check for suspicious activity and that you are immediately proactive should you notice any discrepancies.  If you suspect that your personal information has been misused to commit fraud or theft, act right away.  Remember, an informed consumer is a wise consumer…

Let’s Discuss:  Have you ever been the victim of identity theft or had your credit compromised somehow?

© 2014, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I have had my credit card numbers stolen and used a couple of times over the years-luckily the credit card companies themselves caught it and called me–it is a pain to then have to get new numbers and wait for the new card and various other signing of letters etc-but it is necessary! I still do not know whether the numbers were stolen online or off and I am super careful-but obviously that will not always help.

  2. Lindsay Horlander says

    Great tips. I have been a victim of identity theft and everyone needs to take this very seriously!

  3. Identity theft really scares me. Not that I have all that much, but let’s face it – who wants to deal with all that hassle. These are great tips to know, though – just in case.

  4. This is something that could happen to any of us… You just never know. I hope and pray it never happens to anyone I know. But it is better to be safe than sorry.

  5. Very good tips! It’s scary to think that this could happen to anyone. I try to be really careful with my personal information.

  6. Lawna Young says

    This really scared me! I am always so terrified of having someone steal my credit. I will definitely use your tips to help prevent my credit from being stolen. Thanks!

  7. We’ve never had identity theft, but have had to deal with stolen credit card numbers twice! It’s such a hassle having to get it all straightened out. Great tips!

  8. mena & taty says

    I am sorry this happened to you, but glad to see you are on the ball. I am very lucky as this has never happened to me

  9. I would freak out if I get a call like that of yours. I had a similar experience just recently, I received so many email confirmations of orders from an online store that I am a member. The orders has different addresses and names but suing my account, whew. Glad it was resolved.

  10. amanda ripsam says

    wow I never experienced identy ftheif other then being one of those random lucky people who were shopping during the target’s security breech man I love target but I have not shoped there since I’m glad there are ways to help people who are victims. I haven’t had any money moved out of my account as I cancelled my card asap and got a new one as soon as I saw it on the news. I was lucky.

  11. I would go crazy if it’s my social security got hacked. Thank you for this tips.

  12. I’ve never experienced identity theft, but since the Target debacle a number of my friends have. You give some excellent tips here and I will for sure share this blog post with them.

  13. this are all great tips i had my identity messed with a few years back and it was a hassel getting things straighten out

  14. Fantastic tips I had my ID stolen as a teen and I’ve never forgotten it it was horrid – it’s so good that more ways are coming out to keep us all safe. x

  15. Its always good to have some coverage on Identity Theft through your Insurance Company as well. I am an Insurance Advisor and I am always telling my clients how important this is.. The experience you had is scary.. Hope it never happens again

  16. Joanna Sormunen says

    Someone stole my sister’s identity and used her credit card information to shop in Spain, of all the places. This is a real problem and you can never be too careful with the information. Than you for this post!

  17. Jennifer Williams says

    I am so sorry this happened to you, I went through it many years ago before we monitored our credit so much. Mine was stolen when I went for a background check for a job – I had to get finger printed at the Sheriff’s office and the girl that did my prints had my exact same name and now had my information. It was such a nightmare to fix especially because she did have the same name.

  18. thanks for this tips – I haven’t had encounter on this and I’m thankful about it but thanks for the tips, it’s really helpful.

  19. We have had our credit card compromised numerous times as has my son. It seems like it is just unavoidable. Look what happen with Target this past holiday season. We do use a service called Lifelock which notifies us of any unusual activity. It is well worth the money.

  20. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    I know of a couple people who dealt with it and it was an absolute nightmare for them to get it rectified!

  21. Marielle A. Lord says

    I’ve heard some scary stories when it comes to identity theft. So horrific that this has happen to you. I hope it gets resolved and whoever did it gets caught.

  22. I have not had to deal with identity theft & hopefully never will *knocks on wood*

  23. I never had to deal with identity theft, I pray that I never do

  24. Luckily I have never been an IT victim, although we did have someone who was using our phone # as contact number. It took us a little time to get the collection calls to stop, but it was only our phone number they used, luckily!

  25. That is so scary I am so sorry that this happened to you. Ok so when I was 16 I got the wrong drivers license in the mail when I waiting to get my official one. My mother freaked out and she immediately contacted sacramento and the DV. Being the lawyer she was she told me that the reason she did this was so its on record so if someone does something with my id and I get pulled over. I laughed at her when i was 16 however I realize now what a smart woman she was. I still have a copy of the letters should anything arise from that happening. Sorry for my ramble and I pray that everything gets resolved quickly for you with no further damage to your credit, bank accounts or personal information.

  26. TheNewClassy says

    I am sorry that this happened to you. I am glad that you were able to find out, though, before even more damage was done.

  27. I personally have never been in that position, but my brother has been through it. It cost him thousands of dollars to restore everything. I am pretty sure about 18 months of stress. He is a different person now. I hope this was the only way your identity was stolen and you can resolve it soon. I really hope this never happens to anyone else I know, or anyone for that matter.

  28. Both my husband and I have had our something like this happen before and it is scary and makes you feel violated! I am sorry you are dealing with it!

  29. BabsProjects says

    While this has not happened to me personally, I have always been cautious about it. We try to get our credit history checked out regularly. I am glad you were able to work it out.

  30. Betsy Barnes says

    We’ve had a number of credit cards compromised in the past, not full identity theft though. It’s a very scary situation either way )

  31. What’s even worse is when a company bills you for an account you’ve closed and then turns you over to collections. This happened to me via TMobile. I fought and fought, explaining they had even given me a refund for breaking my service contract, and in the end it was easier to pay. Terrible. Sorry this happened to you!

  32. i have had this happen to me and it sucks. i did not know what to do. thanks for the tips.

  33. Debra Womack says

    What a scary situation! We have to keep watch on this sort of thing all the time as hubby and I have quite common names.

  34. Very scary to have that happen. So sorry that you had to deal with that.

Trackbacks

  1. […]   Most of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I was recently the victim of identity theft.  Fortunately, I found out about it because many people continue to be victimized for years […]

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