Hackers are becoming more sophisticated these days, as their techniques and tools evolve. So far in 2021, nearly 281.5 million people have been affected by some sort of data breach. With the Covid-19 pandemic, many of you are working from home, leaving you more vulnerable to spyware, especially if you are off your company’s network. Malicious hackers will usually entice you by sending you an email, asking you to click a link to claim a prize or falsely stating that your information has been compromised. At first glance, these links seem legit but are often routed to devious websites that put your personal information at risk. If you suspect your identity is stolen, follow these steps.
Change All of Your Passwords
If your identity has been stolen, change your passwords immediately. Even though your information has already been compromised, you never know what else they could be searching for. Most importantly, if you find yourself clicking a link with a suspicious URL (learn how to identify these here) once again, change all of your passwords immediately.
Call your bank and put a freeze on any credit or debit cards as soon as you can. Additionally, most online retailers have the option of setting up accounts on their websites. Their sites will remember your personal information for the sake of an easy checkout experience when shopping. Notify those companies as well, so they can walk you through the proper steps for removing your information.
File a Police Report
Although difficult, providing detailed information about the fraudulent activity may help police track down the people responsible. Regardless, it’s good to have a paper trail of your personal information being compromised in case your information becomes associated with any crimes. Some creditors may even require you to file a report to help you fix your credit history.
Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are three of the major credit bureaus you should call regarding any fraud involving your name and accounts. This will alert any creditors to look at inquiries more closely, to ensure it is you requesting them. It’s free to place a one-year fraud alert on your accounts and will give you peace of mind that it won’t happen again.
- Equifax Alerts: 800-525-6285
- Experian Fraud Center: 888-397-3742
- TransUnion Fraud Alert: 888-909-8872
Ask for Copies of Your Credit Report
Once you have placed the alert and notified your banks, ask for a copy of your credit report. Take a thorough look at it to make sure everything looks okay. If you find transactions you don’t recognize, take the proper steps (below) to remedy them.
File a Credit Dispute
If you suspect someone has filed a tax return using your information, you will need to fill out Form 14039 with the IRS. If you suspect that someone has taken a loan out under your name, you will need to report it by visiting identitytheft.gov. Sending letters via or filing disputes online are two easy options. Be sure to include each item you are challenging, explain in detail why you are challenging them, and request that it be removed. They will then adjust the information or obtain further information from the business. Filing disputes are free of charge.
Getting your identity stolen is a stressful and disruptive problem. Luckily, there are many resources out there to help get your personal information and finances back on track. The important thing is to follow these steps as soon as possible and document as much information as you can. PeoplesFinders isn’t just a comprehensive collection of public records–it’s also a tool made for easy access to information that you are entitled to. Contact us to learn more about our memberships.