Illustration of identity theft

What To Do When You're a Victim of Identity Theft


Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud under your name. This serious crime can wreak havoc on your finances, credit history, and reputation. Follow these tips if you believe that you are the victim of identity theft:

Change all of your passwords.
Set a different password for every account. Use capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to make it secure.

Contact all affected organizations.
This includes any financial institutions as well as government organizations. For example, if your Social Security number and driver's license have been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Close or freeze all compromised accounts.
Information your bank and other financial institutions that someone may be using your identity, and review all recent transactions. Cancel any new account or change that you did not authorize, and obtain new cards with new account numbers.

Contact the authorities.
File a report with your local law enforcement agency. Even if local police don't have jurisdiction over the crime, you will need to provide a copy of the report to your banks, creditors, and other businesses. If funds have been stolen, contact one of the three credit bureaus so that they place a fraud alert on your file and prevent any further criminal activity.