Compass

What Should You Do If You Suspect Identity Theft

by Lorrie French 01/26/2020

Photo by Brian A Jackson via Shutterstock

Identity theft is an issue that has become more common since the digital age has bristled and bloomed. Many people are victims of phishing scams – an online predator steals your identity by impersonating a respectable institution and takes your sensitive information, financial information being stolen from non-secured sites, hacking or good, old-fashioned credit card theft, to name a few. Every form of identity theft can lead to severely damaging credit reports and scores, and may affect whether or not you’re able to purchase your next home.

Are you a victim of identity theft?

Often, your financial institution will contact you if they suspect suspicious activity on your accounts. As an account holder, monitoring these accounts or setting up an extra layer of security notifications will also help you figure out when someone is trying to steal your identity. Some of the tell-tale signs of identity theft can include a rapidly plummeting credit score, random accounts appearing in your financial hub, notification of attempted loan applications via mail, etc.

What should you do if you think you’ve been targeted for identity theft?

Freeze Your Credit

You can put a freeze on your credit by contacting the three major credit bureaus. When doing so, feel free to report that you suspect you’ve been targeted for identity theft. Once you place the freeze on your account, creditors will have to verify that they have done their due diligence in confirming your identity should they wish to open a new account for you or check your credit report.

Send a Fraud Alert

You may also want to send a fraud alert out to the credit bureaus. Doing so informs them that there’s been a breach in your personal security, and you’re trying to amend the situation.

Check Your Credit Report

Monitor your credit report to see where things went awry. You are entitled to one free credit report per year, so make the most of it. Obtaining your credit report should allow you to pinpoint exactly when the fraudulent activity started and give you some insight into what was going on at the time.

Talk to the Debt Collectors

If someone has taken advantage of your credit and your identity, there’s a good chance you’ll be receiving some information from debt collectors; especially if you were unaware that the debt was being racked up in the first place. The best thing to do is give them a call and find out exactly which debt they’re collecting on, who they’re acting on behalf of and get any other information that may pertain to your identity being stolen.

File a Report

Identity theft is a heavy crime and should be reported to the police immediately. After reporting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and getting your report, be sure to have an official government ID with photograph, all current mailing information and any other reports that you’ve collected stating that your identity has been stolen.
Many Americans are afflicted by identity theft every year. Once the issue has been halted and is monitored carefully, you may want to start rebuilding. Request a new card from your credit card company and bank. Keep an eye on those accounts, protect yourself by taking the extra security measures of shopping on secured sites, requesting verification from anyone asking you for sensitive information and checking your credit activity often. This will lower your chances of undergoing a second attack.


About the Author
Author

Lorrie French

"Where the Accent is on Service”

DRE#00910990

Lorrie is a San Francisco native and has 30 years of experience as a realtor/broker.  She knows the heartbeat  of the city.  From Russian Hill to SOMA from the Bayview District to the Marina, you’ll find her helping buyers and sellers handle their real estate needs.  Lorrie’s expertise in marketing, negotiating, and achieving results could be beneficial to you.  She takes pride on her ability to listen, communicate and most importantly, care about her clients.

  • Realtor designation - 1986
  • Graduate, Realtor Institute - 1992
  • Certified Residential Specialist - 1997
  • Broker designation - 1999
  • Senior Real Estate Specialists - 2005
  • Certified International Property Specialist - 2017

Lorrie is associated with:

  • California Association of Realtors
  • National Association of Realtors
  • Woman’s Council of Realtor
  • Past Director on the San Francisco Association of Realtors’ board
  • Director on the California Association of Realtors
  • Serves on the Legislative Committee and Professional Standards of the San Francisco Association of Realtors                             

She is active in the American Cancer Society, neighborhood associations, and Friends of the Urban Forest.  Her activities include yoga, biking, golf, and walking.

Lorrie attributes her success to experience, market knowledge, professionalism, and excellent communication.  Lorrie believes that buying or selling a home should be left to a professional -- not to chance.  Like with any major investment, one should be careful to seek out the best advice and assistance available. This is where Lorrie stands out; in fact, her track record of proven success and client satisfaction is the best assurance of the same outstanding service you will receive when you buy or sell with Lorrie.  She invites you to contact her and explore how she may assist you in a purchase or sale in the City by the Bay.