Dealing with identity theft

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One of the biggest challenges we face in this new age if technology and instant communication is identity theft. Unscrupulous people are always trying to get your name, your social security number and your birthday. Once they have that information they can apply for credit under your name. Other identity thefts will even try to get your bank account information and PIN number or your credit card information and use that also. If this situation happens to you there are a number of things you should do to protect yourself immediately.

1. Call your bank and credit card company – As soon as you know or even suspect that you are a victim of identity theft call your bank and credit card companies. Let them know what has happened. In many cases they will cancel your cards and issue you new ones. Otherwise, they may just keep an eye on the activity in your accounts to make sure that nothing suspicious happens.

2. Look at your bank and credit card statements – Even if you don’t know that you have been a victim, you can easily spot it by looking at your statements as soon as they arrive in your mail. If there are any charges which you did not spend yourself or which look suspicious, then contact your bank or credit card company right away so that they can investigate them. If you contact the companies as soon as there is a problem they are very happy to deal with you and solve the problems without adversely affecting you.

3. Contact the credit bureaus – Once you know you have been a victim you should contact the credit bureaus immediately. For a small fee you can put a credit freeze on your file in most states. This means that no one will be able to apply for a loan or credit card even of they have all of the correct information because companies will not be able to access your file. You can have the freeze in place for as long as you feel you need it. Just because you have a freeze on your account, though, doesn’t mean you can’t access your file if you want to apply for credit yourself. You will be given a PIN number and you can use that number to bypass the freeze and access your file as you need to while still barring access to people who aren’t you.