SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Identity theft is a common crime, but what do you do if you become a victim? There are some steps you need to take if someone has accessed your personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you do these three things right away if you realize your identity has been stolen:
- Freeze your accounts
- Call the fraud department of your financial institutions
- Change all of your passwords, passcodes, and PINs
The next thing that you should do is place a fraud alert, by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You should also get a credit report. If you contact one of the credit bureaus, that company is obligated to notify the other two.
Fraud alerts are free, and they make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name.
After you do that, you should report your identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission by going to identitytheft.gov. They will help you come up with a recovery plan.