How Do I Restore My Identity Once It Has Been Stolen?
The Federal Trade Commission offers invaluable tools for restoring your identity if it has already been compromised. The tools can be found at the FTC Recovery Guide page. On this website, you will find a complaint form, affidavit of your identity, and sample letters. You will also find a log to chart your actions while restoring your identity. It is important to utilize this log to keep a record of contacts you have made with the authorities, credit card companies, banks, and credit bureaus. If something gets lost in the process, the log ensures detailed notes to help prove your efforts, and ultimately, rescue your identity from a criminal.
If you have an all-encompassing identity theft protection service, your provider can take care of much of the restoration.
The first call you make should be to the police, to report the crime. According to the FTC, “A police report that provides specific details of the identity theft is considered an Identity Theft Report, which entitles you to certain legal rights when it is provided to the three major credit reporting agencies or to companies where the thief misused your information. An Identity Theft Report can be used to permanently block fraudulent information that results from identity theft, such as accounts or addresses, from appearing on your credit report. It will also make sure these debts do not reappear on your credit reports. Identity Theft Reports can prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft, or selling them to others for collection. An Identity Theft Report is also needed to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.”
When filing an identity theft report, you will first want to fill out an ID Theft Complaint with the FTC, which you should bring with you to the police station.
They key to restoring a stolen identity is to exercise patience. Recognize this is not the end of the world, it’s an inconvenience and can be fixed with time and persistence.