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protect yourself from identity theft Archives | Ovation Credit Repair Services

What Do I Do If My Identity Is Stolen?

By | Credit Repair, Fraud Protection, Your Credit

In the realm of science fiction and as a device in slapstick comedy, identity swaps often lead to hilarious adventures and comical misunderstandings. The humor in mistaken identity is a common plot element, even appearing in the works of Shakespeare. In the modern world of credit cards and digital money, however, the loss of or change in your identity is nothing to laugh about.

A stolen identity can encompass much more than just a stolen credit card. Identity theft includes personal information such as your name, address, and social security number, which allows another individual to make purchases or open accounts in your name. This is a serious crime, and it should be reported as soon as possible (even if it is a relative).

The first thing to do is to call the police, and file a report. Next, place fraud alerts on your credit reports by notifying all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each of these bureaus will request a copy of the police report; you should in turn request a copy of your credit report. Review your credit reports thoroughly, because it is important to identify which actions are your own and which are those of an imposter. By logging all your recent activity, you can successfully track what has been stolen from you. The credit bureaus can put a lock on your account, to prevent any further credit from being issued.

The next step is to close or change all of your accounts, in order to effectively lock out the individual who may be responsible. Contact each of your credit card companies, your bank and other lenders to let them know about the situation. This helps to ensure that the thief can no longer use your identity.  The last step is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC employs nationwide resources to track down those who commit identify theft and works to help those who are victims of this callous crime.

Identity theft can effectively ruin your credit, and although the issue can be resolved, it is certainly not a pleasant experience. Take measures to protect yourself against identity theft by paying close attention to your credit affairs. If you are getting phone calls from debtors about items you never purchased or offers for credit cards that you never applied for, it might be a sign that someone has hacked into your life. Do not hesitate to investigate your credit, if you feel something is awry. Legally, credit bureaus are required to provide one free credit report per year upon request. Additionally, the credit bureaus also have to give you a free report if you feel you are a victim of identity theft. When it comes to identity theft, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What Do Spielberg, Nimoy, and DeVito Have In Common?

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Consumer Rights, Credit Repair, Fraud Protection

Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no movie in the works. But Stephen Spielberg, Leonard Nimoy and Danny DeVito have more in common than you might think: They have all been victims of identity theft.

James Rinaldo Jackson enjoyed a spurious lifestyle by stealing the identities of these famous individuals. Jackson became privy to their most intimate information including social security numbers, bank and credit card statements and even credit reports.

The former identity thief describes his wicked gift in his book, “Your Evil Twin.” When recounting his misadventures Jackson said, “It is very easy to be anyone you please, on any given morning you awake.”  Jackson, who was quite good at thieving identities, has since gone straight. However, don’t take comfort in the fact that he is off the job or that when he was in the identity theft business he targeted the rich and famous.  Though Jackson has turned over a new leaf, there are countless criminals who would rather steal your identity than create a financial identity of their own.

Identity theft occurs when personal identifying information is accessed, without permission, and used to commit a crime. Stealing the information in the first place is criminal and the Federal Trade Commission indicates that at least nine million Americans are victimized each year. The sad fact is most of these people will not realize the violation until their credit report or credit score is negatively affected and they are turned down when applying for credit. Then where to turn?

The first thing a victim of identity theft should do is to file a police report. With the police report in hand, you can go back to lenders, requesting the account be closed as fraud and to write off the debt so that you’re not responsible. Go through reports of all three credit-reporting agencies with a fine toothed comb. It is extremely important to move as much damage away from your credit as possible. Many lenders will provide a fraud affidavit – a notarized form – which indicates you had nothing to do with the fraudulent account.

Figure out the extent of the theft – whether, for example, your social security number has been compromised. Monitoring programs that are in place for monitoring your credit reports can help you. Placing a fraud alert on your credit report will necessitate that the creditor contact you before any credit in your name is approved.  It will also assist you while cleaning up the mess left behind by the identity thief. There may be a number of accounts to dispute and a copy of the notarized affidavit and police report will go a long way as documented proof of innocence.

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