Identity theft is global. Millions of Americans have their identities stolen each year.
Thieves get a hold of your social security number, date of birth, or I.D. and they begin opening up accounts in your name. Your unaware until you begin receiving calls from creditors, or debt collectors saying that you owe outrageous amounts of money or about products and services you didn’t purchase.
The most famous, widely publicized identity theft case was about a California woman named Michele Brown who in 1998, had her social security number stolen from a rental application she filled out, by a woman who worked at the rental company. The woman who was a long time felon, ultimately ran up $50,000 worth of merchandise, products, and services in Michel Brown’s name. Michele Brown went through trauma trying to clear her name from the mess the thief had made.
Michele Brown was even arrested for a crime the other woman had committed in her name. Michele Brown spent years trying to restore her name and on July 12, 2000 she appeared before the US Senate Committee Hearing on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Government Information to speak of her gruesome experience as a victim of identity theft and encouraged them to change and strengthen laws to protect identity theft victims.
So You ask, What Can I do To Protect Myself? What are the signs of identity theft?
1. New accounts that you do not recognize appear on your credit report: Most identity thieves will try to open new accounts, such as a credit card, in your name. When this happens, your credit report reflects that a new “account” was opened. Check your credit report on a regular basis so that you can see if there are any unrecognizable accounts that were opened in your name. You are entitled to one free credit report each year from www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you pull your free annual reports you should carefully review the Names, addresses, and social security numbers that are associated with the file. Many times, the identity theif will apply for credit using your name and social security number, and will supply their address. In this way, credit cards, utilities, and even loans can be opened, and all of the mailings associated with the new account will go to the thief’s address.
2. There are unexplained withdrawals and charges on your banking, or credit card statements.
Identity thieves can tap into your current banking and credit card accounts by taking money from your bank account or by making a purchase with your credit card. All they have to do is call the bank and request online access by using your identity information such as your birthdate, social security number, and mother’s maiden name.
Many times, the identity thief is someone we know or are even related to. To avoid this type of identity theft, read through your statements carefully each month and call your bank or credit card company if there are questionable withdrawals or purchases. The more often you look at your financial statements, the better the chances are that you’ll notice unauthorized charges or fraudulent activity.
3. You haven’t received your bills, statements or other important mail in a long time.
Identity thieves sometimes call your bank, Credit Card Company or lender to change your mailing address. This allows them to run up charges without you noticing for a while since you are not receiving statements in the mail.
4. You’ve received calls from debt collection agencies about products or services you didn’t buy.
Thieves can use your personal information to apply for loans or a credit card in your name. This usually leads to unpaid bills that a debt collection agency will try to collect from you.
If you determine you are a victim of identity theft, you should:
Step 1: Immediately contact the three credit reporting bureaus:
Ask them to place an Initial Fraud Alert on your credit report.
An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The initial alert stays on your report for at least 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies.
Step 2: File appropriate Identity Theft Reports with Law Enforcement, Postal Service, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Appropriately filed reports with the FTC, Law Enforcement, and the United States Postal Service will allow you to receive important benefits associated with having the erroneous information “blocked” from your credit file. These appropriately filed reports also entitle you to receive a free Security Freeze, which will limit the availability of your credit reports and will stop the thief from gaining new accounts in your name.
The benefits of doing an appropriate Identity Theft Report are:
• You can get fraudulent information removed from your credit report.
• stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft, or from selling the debt to another company for collection.
• place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.
• get information from companies about accounts the identity thief opened or misused.
Credit Corrector Solutions Can Assist consumers with credit issues like this. Contact Us Today at 1-877-335-8865 or fill out our consultation form
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