Identity Theft: 5 Urgent Steps to Take If You’re a Victim
Identity theft has become a huge problem recently with credit card data theft alone increasing 50 percent from 2005 to 2010. Of course, identity theft isn’t limited to your credit card information; data theft involving your driver’s license, insurance number, or social security number can be even more detrimental. Identity theft may require you to spend hours on the phone fixing your credit, and possibly even result in a dent in your credit score if all the issues are not resolved. Adults are not the only ones who suffer, either; child identity theft is growing quickly because parents often take months or even years to detect the theft because their kids seem too young to be affected.
There are at least 130 million malicious programs right now designed to steal your information. Hopefully, you will avoid falling victim to identity theft, but if you are currently suffering from stolen information or you want to be prepared for the future, read on to learn how to handle it.
1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission
If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission to report it. You can contact the FTC here. Under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, the FTC has become a central agency which accepts complaints about identity theft, provides information about identity theft, offers referrals and other resources, and can potentially help victims with leverage for proving identity theft. The law itself makes identity theft a federal crime, and those convicted can face up to 15 years in jail.