The unthinkable has happened – your identity has been stolen. Now what?
First of all, don't panic. Panic is your worst enemy in any situation, because it clouds your ability to think clearly and act wisely. Instead, you should remain calm and prepare to fight. It might take a while before things are back to normal, but the following steps can help.
The first thing you should do is to report the theft to your local police department. Then you should contact your bank, as well as you credit card issuer. You should also place a fraud alert on your credit report. Call one of the three major credit reporting agencies. When you place an alert with one, the bureau will alert the others.
Contact your insurance agent. Most homeowner's policies have some sort of identity theft coverage. This would be the time to find out what it covers. Don't be surprised if it's not much.
You'll also want to contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT. The agency collects information about identity theft for studies and analysis. The FTC will suggest that you file a fraud affidavit. Be sure to keep copies of this form and the police report you filed.
Go ahead and get a new driver's license, making sure to get a new number, and not a duplicate of the old one. This is important because if the thief tries to use your license, the old number will be invalid because you've been issued a new one.
Change your locks. The thief has your address, and you'll want to be sure your home is secure, particularly if your wallet or purse was stolen with keys inside.
Call the Social Security Administration. They won't do anything, but it's a good idea to have them note that your information was lost.
Contact your attorney. Identity theft almost always causes legal problems, and you should talk to your lawyer about what's happened, and see if he has any advice.
You may want to consider a credit monitoring service. Remember that most identity theft happens after the information was lost or stolen. Fraud alerts only last three months. Credit monitoring is a great way to keep tabs on things.