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How to Recover from Identity Theft

6 steps you must do right now if your personal information has been stolen. Learn more at SpotMe.

6 steps to follow when your personal information has been stolen

Identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone’s personal information is used without the owner’s permission. One of the negative effects of identity theft is a financial loss. When your data has been stolen, the criminals can take over your bank accounts, use your credit cards, take a loan by using your name, and even claim government benefits by using your Social Security number. If you become a victim of identity theft, you must follow these steps to minimize the losses.

1. Change all passwords
Changing all your important accounts’ passwords and passcodes must be done immediately after the identity theft happens. The accounts include emails, digital wallets, internet banking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, and online trading accounts. This step can avoid the criminals to use your accounts even though they already had your data.

2. File a report
Making a fraud report to the local police will help you investigate the case. For another alternative, you can submit an online report at ACORN. In order to have your report processed, you need to provide every single detail about identity theft. And don’t forget to keep the evidence – such as emails, screenshots and receipts.

3. Contact your financial institutions
Explain your situation to your banks, credit card issuers, online loan providers, and other related companies. You can ask them to freeze or close your accounts to prevent fraudulent activities.

4. Check your credit report
Checking your credit report as soon as possible after the identity theft happens may help you track down suspicious transactions. You can request for a transaction history from your credit card issuer or check your bank statements to check if there are any unknown transactions. Other than that, you can request a copy of the credit report from reputable credit reporting agencies.

5. Check your social media accounts
The criminals might use your social media and pretend to be you so they can commit frauds on your behalf. They can ask your friends to send them some money or they can use your social media for criminal transactions. To prevent these horrible possibilities, after changing your password, you can inform your colleagues that your personal information has been stolen.

6. Be careful with any suspicious messages or phone calls
When the criminals steal your personal information, there is still a chance that they can’t do anything about it because the data is incomplete. Beware. They might contact you to get your complete personal data, by pretending to be a bank staff and asking about your confidential information – password and your mother’s maiden name. Thus, when you receive a suspicious message or call, you better ignore it. And remember, no financial institutions will ask for your passwords. Ever.

Identity theft can happen to anyone, but it doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. One of the simple actions to protect your data is by doing online transactions carefully. Keep in mind that your personal information is precious, so always be more cautious when you use it, especially online.

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