Identity theft continues to plague people across the globe. The only way to be ready when it happens to you is to have a personal recovery plan. Here’s how.
The unfortunate reality that identity theft is becoming more and more common today, has many people focused on ways they can protect themselves from being a target for fraudsters. Today, it’s just as important to focus on being ready before you ever become part of a scam as it is to know what to do once you are in the midst of a breach.
Creating a personal recovery plan from identity theft will help you to remain calm and strategic when it happens to you. It’s too easy to panic or become devastated when you realize your information has been compromised or that you have had finances stolen.
When you plan for it in advance, you’ll have an actionable list ready to work through and important steps that will mitigate the negative impact. The Federal Trade Commission provides recovery plan help at IdentityTheft.gov which includes personalized planning for recovery after a breach.
Here are 3 key steps for creating a personal recovery plan.
Report and Document Theft Immediately
Most companies today already have a fraud department in place that handles the actions needed to help customers and clients when their information has been compromised. It is critical when you become aware of an attack that you have those companies contact information on file, and speak to the correct department to document what has occurred. Most will advise you to change passwords and may even freeze your accounts as they investigate and to stop further fraud from occurring.
You should also contact the credit bureaus for a freeze on your credit until the issue has been addressed. Oftentimes the freeze will remain for a few years.
Be sure to also include the FTC on your list of immediate contacts to let them know fraud has occurred so they can put necessary flags up for others and keep records of your incident.
Correct Any Bogus Charges or Claims
Since most people will only know they are victims of identity theft after their information has been stolen and used for a fraudulent transaction, you should make getting those bogus charges removed another top priority on your steps to recovery. This can take some time to have removed so you want sufficient time for recovery.
This process will require more phone calls to companies and fraud departments to explain what has occurred and officially ask to have the fraudulent charges removed so set aside ample time in your day for the conversations. For debt collectors, you may need to write in a claim that a debt they are trying to collect is fraudulent. Pay attention to any mail you receive or take note of which companies you haven’t done business with that are listed with accounts on your credit report.
Remember to also check accounts like utilities and loans for fraud, not just payment cards.
Fill Out Appropriate Forms
Keeping an accurate record of all you have uncovered and those companies you have formally contacted about the fraud to request assistance is key. With so much paperwork and various departments working on things, it is critical to remain organized and ensure you have filed all appropriate paperwork and forms as you work to restore your identity. There are different steps that need to be taken when that fraud includes medical identity theft or the identity theft of a child, so be sure you are taking all precautions and have submitted all the appropriate forms.
Here at Legal Shred, we want to ensure you maintain compliance for the disposal of private data. Our professional paper shredding and electronic waste destruction services will keep your information illegible and out of fraudster’s hands. Call to schedule a pick-up today!
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