For well over a decade, reports of identity theft have topped the consumer complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The incidence of identity theft continues to rise in San Bernardino and beyond. The recent report from the Federal Office of Personnel Management that a security breach has allowed hackers to gain access to federal background checks for over 21 million people make it clear that no one is immune.
Protecting Yourself after Identity Theft
There are many forms of identity theft which fall into five basic categories, criminal identity theft, financial identity theft, identity cloning, medical identity theft, and child identity theft. If you have be the victim of any of these types of identity theft in San Bernardino or the surrounding areas, our experienced identity theft attorney can help you through the aftermath.
- Contact the Credit Reporting Agencies to add a fraud alert or security freeze to your credit record. Working with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion proactively will help protect your credit rating. Be sure to get free copies of your credit report from all three agencies and review them for fraudulent activity.
- Contact any institution that was directly affected. If your identity theft began by losing your wallet, for example, contact your credit card companies directly. Your credit card companies can issue you a new card with a new account number.
- Safeguard your Social Security Number. Be careful what information you carry with you on a regular basis. Do not carry your Social Security Card or other sensitive information if you can avoid it. Do not provide your SSN to anyone who is not extending credit or a job. While some companies try to use your SSN as a form of identity verification, they must provide other options. If your social security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file an Identity Theft Affidavit and create an Identity Theft Report. You do this online, by phone at 1-877-ID THEFT, or by mail. The FTC will give you information about the next steps.
- File a Police Report and be sure to get a copy for your records. Even if the police cannot do anything to investigate your case, having a report filed is essential to any recovery efforts and is often required by the credit reporting agencies or creditors.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of identity theft, please contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free consultation by calling (855) 341-2611. Mr. Howard serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties and throughout California.