Identity Theft – What To Do If It Has Been Compromised – Contact Credit Reporting Agencies And Change Account Numbers

Identity Theft – What To Do If It Has Been Compromised – Contact Credit Reporting Agencies And Change Account Numbers

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(Best Syndication) While most people worry about their credit card information falling into the wrong hands, there is a more ominous problem out there: Identity. Your identity is a collection of information that your doctor, insurance company, bank, credit card companies, employer and others have on file. These companies and people will have your social security number, your address and your date of birth. One misstep by any of these entities and you could be in big trouble.

Once a crook gets your identity, they will usually want to add a new address to your credit. This way they can get the bills for their new credit cards sent to them and not you. They can use your identity and sign up for credit cards without you even knowing it. This was done once to me when they purchased a cell phone in my name. Later they opened up credit card accounts and started charging.

There are several things you should do if your identity has been compromised. You should contact your credit card companies and let them know what happened. They may want to issue you a new credit card with a new number and PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Identity Guard

You will also want to contact the three credit reporting bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit file. The three companies are Experian, Equifax and Transunion. This will make it hard for the crooks to sign-up for new credit cards with your name on them.

There are two types of alerts to consider. The first is an “Initial Alert” which stays on your credit record for 90 days. You can renew the alert as many times as you want with a simple phone call. Usually when you notify one credit reporting agency they will notify the other two. This will make it nearly impossible for the crooks to open new accounts. I chose to use the “Initial Alert” and called in to extend it several times.

The next alert is called an “Extended Alert”. This will stay on file with the credit reporting agencies for seven years. The “Extended Alert” will allow you to get a copy of your credit report twice. The “Extended Alert” will also remove your name from the pre-screened credit offers marketing lists for a period of five years. Martin Sumner in an article titled “Coping with ID Theft” recommends the seven year “Extended Alert” if your identity has been compromised.

It is a good idea for people to get some sort of credit monitoring service. This type of service will notify you when someone has placed a new address on your account or added a new credit card or loan to your ID. They usually offer free credit reports yearly as well. There are many services available, so you will want to compare prices and features before you decide.

By Steven Potter
Best Syndication Business Writer

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