Although you may do everything right — like changing passwords frequently, being careful on public Wi-Fi and checking your credit report quarterly — you may still find yourself in need of identity theft restoration help sometime in the future.
Given the breadth of data breaches and the variety of cyberattack strategies, identity theft protection isn’t always within your control. Anyone from your employer to your bank could accidentally give out your Social Security number, account information, passwords and other sensitive information. Even government agencies such as the IRS could be exposing your data.
Identity Theft Restoration – How to Take Action
If you need to pursue identity theft restoration, here are a few tactics for mitigating the damage:
- Get organized. Keep extensive notes on every aspect of your identity theft restoration efforts, including the full names of everyone you’ve contacted, dates of phone calls and letters, and details on what was discussed. When you send information by mail, get a return receipt as proof that your letter was received. Put everything into one file for easy access and cross referencing.
- Work with the credit reporting bureaus. Put a fraud alert on your credit by contacting the three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You may also want to consider putting a freeze on your credit while you work on restoring your identity.
- File an identity theft report. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a form that you can use to file an official report with law enforcement, credit reporting agencies and creditors. Be sure to file a copy of the form with the FTC, too.
Shut Down the Source
Making the restoration process more challenging is the fact that once you’ve had your identity stolen or been a victim of a breach, you’re more likely to be targeted again. That’s because the stolen or exposed information may have been sold multiple times before you were able to take action.
As part of your identity theft restoration process, make sure you address the potential source of the issue so it doesn’t become an ongoing problem. Ask questions like these to get a better grasp of what’s happening:
- How was your information stolen? It could have come from a breach, phone scam or email scam, or taken by someone you know. If you can pinpoint the cause of the identity theft, it’s easier to put more protection into place.
- Who was affected? Although it might seem like just one person in a family is at risk, take a look at everyone’s credit. Children and teens are major targets for identity theft, and criminals have even been known to steal the identities of the deceased.
Whether you’ve been struck yet or not, you can help prevent future damage by using an identity theft protection service that will issue alerts if any suspicious activity occurs. Should red flags come up, IdentityForce will be there to assist you with identity theft restoration and get you back on track as quickly as possible.