If you have fallen victim to identity theft, you must take action quickly. But often, in the heat of the moment, it's hard to remember what you should do. Here are the steps you should take. Print the list and keep it handy, just in case.
First of all, contact the police and file a report. Get the police report number, and the name and phone number of the investigating officer. You will want to keep this information handy to provide to any creditors or other people you speak with regarding the theft.
You may wish to close your checking and/or savings accounts, depending on what was stolen, and stop payment on outstanding checks. You will definitely want to inform your bank or credit union, telling the fraud department what accounts might be breached. Be prepared to provide the representative with account numbers. You will want to obtain a new ATM card, account number and PIN.
You will also want to contact your credit card issuers and even close the cards you think might be at risk. When you get your statements, go over them carefully, checking for any questionable or fraudulent activity.
If you spend time and money fixing the damage done by such a theft, make sure you document everything you do, including dates and the names of people you speak with. Jot down the amounts you spend and what the expense was for also, as some states will force the theft to make restitution to the victim. You should also keep copies of all correspondence.
Call the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. This will require that you be contacted before any new credit is issued in your name.