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What to do if you suspect you’re an identity theft victim

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Blog, Financial crimes |

People in Arizona spend a lot of time and effort building up their assets and net worth. Unfortunately, they may also become victims of identity theft. If you weren’t aware, identity theft is on the rise. According to data from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, it received 77% more identity theft complaints in 2021 than it did the year before.

Creating initial or extended alerts

For whatever reason, you might have a strong suspicion that you’re going to be the victim of identity theft or fraud. Many creditors can create an initial fraud alert if that’s the case. This alert warns creditors to take precautions to ensure identity thieves aren’t opening lines of credit in your name. An initial fraud alert lasts one year, after which you have the option to renew for another year.

After being the victim of identity theft, you can create another type of alert: the extended alert. This alert entitles you to obtain two free copies of your credit report from each provider annually. Extended alerts last seven years, requiring creditors to verify that no one’s trying to extend credit in your name.

Removing false information from your credit report

The crime victims of identity thieves often find themselves having false information placed on their credit reports. Fortunately, contacting credit reporting businesses can help them remove fake information from your credit report. You’ll first need to send proof of your identity, a letter containing all fraudulent debts and your official identity theft report to have false information removed.

Freezing your credit record

Credit reporting businesses must allow people to freeze and unfreeze their records. Also known as a credit freeze, this action is a way to prevent other people from opening new accounts or otherwise accessing your accounts. Unfortunately, credit freezes won’t prevent identity thieves who already have access to their victims’ accounts.

If you suspect you’re an identity theft victim, don’t wait to report this problem. The faster you report this issue, the sooner you can prevent scammers from doing further damage to your credit.