How To Stop Identity Theft

How to Stop Identity Theft is Part 2 of The Identity Theft Prevention Series. Go to the end of the article for the rest of the series.

Identity theft is something you probably hope to never endure.

No one wants to become the victim of this criminal act. However, you should know some of these steps so you can quickly respond if your sensitive information has been compromised.

If your information is lost or stolen...

stop sign

  • Make calls to one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Alert them that you are a victim of identity theft and request that they add fraud alerts to your file. Fraud alerts will flag creditors to validate your identity before any new accounts are opened or any account information is updated.

    Equifax (800)525-6285
    Experian (888)397-3742
    Equifax (800)680-7289

  • Contact the police and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Since creditors need proof of identity theft, file a police report. Reporting identity theft can aid law enforcement in their efforts stop identity theft. It also shows creditors that you were diligent.
  • Keep a log of your contacts, conversations, and updates with law officials, creditors, and any important individuals.
  • Request a freeze on your credit report (allowable in certain states). New accounts cannot be opened up before "unfreezing" your credit report. This will help protect your fico score.
  • If your checks were stolen or lost, put stop payment orders on all of your checks. This is not a cheap request but it can limit the damage of having your checks in the wrong hands.

A Great Tip for Your Wallet or Purse

Take all personal information (credit cards, driver's license, etc.) and place them in a photocopy machine. Make copies of both sides of each item.

Now, you have a record of what is in your wallet. If your information is ever lost or stolen, you have all the information you need to minimize the damage.

This gives you access to the toll free numbers for your credit cards and charge accounts. This will make the process simple when you need to cancel your accounts quickly.

When traveling here or abroad, make a photocopy of your passport.

Keep these copy records in a safe location.

Speed is Your Friend

Time is of the essence when this crime is committed. The faster you can close the channels of opportunity, the faster you can gain control and limit your exposure.

How to Stop Identity Theft is not as important as learning the ways to prevent identity theft. Put your defense up first. Sometimes people learn that they are a victim when it is too late.

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