I remember it like it was yesterday, it was 4 am and my dog started barking like a maniac. Which was extremely strange being as he wasn’t the barking type. So I got up and looked around, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary so I laid back down. Not even 5 minutes later my phone was going crazy with notifications, my bank was updating me that someone was swiping my card. I run down stairs to locate my wallet and realize I left my purse in my car. I went outside to see my car window shattered and my purse missing, still getting fraud updates from the bank I quickly contacted my bank and credit card companies to freeze my cards. Fast forward to a few months later and I began getting alerts from Life-Lock stating I had several hard inquires on my credit. It was needless to say my worst nightmare, my identity had been stolen, I couldn’t even file my taxes. During this process I made a few mistakes, so in effort to help I put together a list of what to do if this ever happens to you, I also added in a few lessons I’ve learned during this process.
***You should never keep your Social security number in your wallet or purse, and if you need it for business purposes always put It in a safe place.
1. Contact your banks/credit card companies immediately
2. File a police report, and continue to notify your detective as more information comes to light. (in my case as time went on I was notified of fraudulent activity, providing the information as you get it helps when it comes to disputing items as they appear on your credit.)
3. Let the credit bureaus know what’s going on, get a credit freeze. Now this only lasts 90 days, so stay on top of when that time frame is up. There is also a 4 year freeze option you can opt for. (don’t put this off)
4. Get a credit monitoring service, I used LifeLock. This will update you with new account activity.
5. Don’t assume it’s over, I made this mistake myself and stopped monitoring activity. I stopped checking my credit regularly. When I finally checked it….BOOM 5 fraudulent accounts.
6. Contact creditors, I know this one seems a bit odd, but it’s very important to contact the original creditors to let them know you’ve been the victim of identify theft, this will hopefully prevent them reselling the debt which would lead to the fraudulent activity being placed back onto your credit reports.
7. Most importantly, Try not to freak out. Trust me I know how hard dealing with identity theft can be. Try to keep a level head and focus on one task at a time.
8. Save Everything! Make sure you save copies your documentation, you may need to reference it in the future.
I hope this helps someone avoid the massive headache that identity theft has caused me. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me at WhatTanasiaSays@gmail.com, or reach out on Instagram @thatgirlinspires or twitter @whattanasiasays.
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