Steps to take if you are a victim of identity fraud

November 1st, 2013 Philip Bohle

Discovering that your identity has been stolen is a scary prospect that can leave many people unsure of what to do next. Take charge of the situation and take the following steps as soon as possible:

1. Call your bank and credit card issuers immediately so they can close your accounts. Whether your wallet has been stolen or hackers have snatched your credit card details, your personal information can be used immediately to make purchases and borrow cash against your credit limit. By closing these accounts, you prevent further financial damage in your name.

2. Contact the fraud unit of the three credit reporting agencies. Place a fraud alert on your credit report and consider placing a credit freeze so the criminal can’t open new accounts. Also, order your credit reports and review them for unexpected activity or accounts. Alerting these agencies will allow them to monitor your account closely for suspicious requests and to contact you when such requests are made. The fraud unit numbers are:

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

3. Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at or call 1-877- IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). The FTC’s Identity Theft Report can help with the effects of identity theft. You can use it to help remove fraudulent information from your credit report; to stop companies from collecting debts that were incurred as a result of the theft; and to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. It will also help prevent future new accounts from being opened in your name.

4.File a police report. This is an essential step in limiting your liability for any charges.

5. Make sure to maintain a log of all the contacts you make with authorities regarding the matter.

6. Write down names, titles and phone numbers in case you need to re-contact them or refer to them in future correspondence.

For more advice, contact your local MidWestOne Bank location.

About the author

Phillip Bohle is Senior Personal Banker at MidWestOne Bank.

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