Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without you permission. Identity thieves might go through trash cans and dumpsters, stealing bills and documents that have sensitive information. They may work for businesses, medical offices, or government agencies, and steal personal information while on the job. Some even misuse the name of a legitimate business and call or send emails that trick yo into revealing personal information. They pretend to offer a job, a loan, or an apartment, and ask you to send personal information to "qualify". These are just some of the many ways that identity thieves work.
Here are a few things that you should do right away if you identity is stolen:
- Call the companies where you know fraud occurred
- Place a fraud alert and get your credit report.
- Report identity theft to the FTC
- File a report with you local police department