Victims of Identity Theft: What Next?  Close Your Accounts

When you suspect that someone is using your personal information to commit identity theft, it is very important to react quickly.  In reality, the most crucial step is the one you have already taken; realizing that there is a problem.  With that said, the best way to minimize your personal and financial loss is to immediately contact the appropriate parties to stop the crime in it's tracks. 

First Step - Contact Law Enforcement

When contacting law enforcement agencies and financial institutions, all conversations should be logged.  This includes dates, names and phone numbers.  Take note of when you noticed the crime, as well as the expenses that incurred.  These details will help out in case you choose to seek restitution in future judgements or investigations against the criminal.  Be sure to confirm all conversations in writing, whether it's via computer or by hand.  Maintain all copies of these important documents and store them in a safe place. 

Second Step - Close Your Accounts

Another important step that needs to considered is closing any account that has been comprised or fraudulently created.  This may include those from credit card institutions, banks, insurance companies, etc.  Aside from cancelling these accounts, you may also want to stop payment on any pending checks, change your PIN numbers and passwords, or completely obtain different debit and credit cards with new numbers.

In order to dispute fraudulent activity and close accounts, creditors and many other companies will require that you do a bit of work.  They may want you to fill out certain paperwork or to complete an ID theft or fraud affidavit.  During this process, you should ask for copies of any documents related to the fraudulent accounts, such as phony applications and transaction records.  This will help you when it comes to an investigation where authorities seek the imposter suspected of the crime.  Once the account has been approved for cancellation, be sure to obtain documentation stating that the disputed account has been disclosed and you are discharged of further debt.  This will come in handy when attempting to repair your credit.   

You should also remember this: regardless of threats and other circumstances, never pay any portion or bill in it's entirety that has resulted from fraud or identity theft.  This also includes any checks that were fraudulently written or cashed on your behalf.  While you should take action immediately, do not file for bankruptcy right away.  If the crime is detected in enough time, your credit scores may not be tremendously effected, and you may be able to elude many legal fees.  Any individual, merchant, financial institution, or debt collection agencies should be immediately reported if they attempt to make you pay for fraudulent charges.  According to government law, you are not required to repay or cover any debt that has proven to have resulted from identity theft. 

In The End

Recovering from identity theft can be an absolute nightmare.  This process is liable to take up much of your time and money when it comes to hiring attorneys to fight for your name.  Though the process is often tedious, you will find that it is well worth it.  In order to elude these tiresome procedures, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect your personal information from identity thieves.   

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