How to Deal with Identity Theft

In my last blog, I discussed some steps you can take that can improve your chances of avoiding identity theft. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and identity theft is a significant problem. If you are or become a victim of identity theft, the process to clear your name is confusing, intimidating, lengthy and may be costly. We recently helped one of our Crestview, Florida clients go through the process. Upon discovering your identity is stolen, there are several steps you should immediately take to clear your name.

  1. Report the incident to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus
    • Request the credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your credit report.
    • Order copies of your credit report from Equifax, Transunion & Experian and review them to determine if any additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or if any other unauthorized charges have been made. Order the credit reports by mail.
    • Request a victim’s statement that asks creditors to contact you prior to opening new accounts or changing old accounts.
  2. Contact the Fraud Department of each of your creditors.
    • Report the incident to each of your creditors even if the account has not been compromised.
    • Close all accounts that have been compromised.
    • Send a follow up letter.
  3. Contact your bank or financial institution
    • If your checks have been stolen, stop payment immediately.
    • Stop payment on any outstanding checks you are unsure about.
    • Contact the major check verification companies and request they notify retailers not to accept your
    • checks.
    • Cancel your bank accounts and obtain new account numbers.
  4. Report the incident to law enforcement
    • Provide as much documentation as possible and include “ID Theft Affidavit”
    • Request a copy of the police report.
  5. Other steps
    • File a Complaint with FTC’s Identity Theft Clearinghouse.
    • Call the State of Florida toll free fraud hotline 1-866-966-7226.
    • Check your Florida criminal history through Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

These steps will assist you in working through the process of resolving your identity theft
case and clearing your name. Please make sure and keep a log of all the steps you take including the names and phone numbers of individuals you speak with. If you need assistance in clearing your name, please contact Lewis & Jurnovoy, PA today. We will be happy to meet with you at any of our four offices located in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Panama City and Crestview.