1. Did someone else lose your identity?! If an institution lost your information, ask them if they have any programs or extended programs to monitor, restore, and prevent future attacks. Most large institutions will offer a warranty to cover damages to you due to their lack of security. It is usually free of charge to you, but, remember to ask how long and to what extent they will protect you. We help protect many large institutions; please contact us for details.
2. Make sure you have a good monitoring service and ID insurance in place. Monitoring doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In our modern world, we have monthly fees for everything including TV, gym memberships, cell phones, insurance, etc. Imagine what would happen if there was no insurance in this world. Driving a car would be very stressful! In the virtual world, not having “ID theft insurance” is like driving around without auto insurance.
3. Monitor your financial statements. Be proactive in identifying any suspicious activity on your online accounts. You shouldn’t wait for account documents to be received in the mail to review your account activity. It is in your best interest at minimizing the damage caused to your finances to report any possible fraud immediately.
4. Watch for phishing attempts and malware attacks. Once the criminals have obtained your information, be aware that they may attempt to gather more personal information from you by sending fraudulent emails. These emails can be sent using people you know, so it is best to not open any emails that you are not expecting, to limit further damage.
5. Be suspicious of requests for information and/or money through the mail. You may receive mail that appears official, but is sent by the the criminals who have your home or work address.
6. Change Your Passwords. Passwords to any online accounts that have been breached should be immediately changed. If you have multiple accounts that use the same or similar password, you should change those account passwords as well. Here are a few suggestions on how to create a strong password, protecting you from fraud.
7. Consider putting a fraud alert on your credit report. In the event that you are a victim of identity theft you should contact the credit agencies and have a fraud alert placed on your report. The purpose of the fraud alert is to inform the credit agencies if anyone is attempting to open any accounts in your name. The fraud alert is placed on your report for 90 days and can be extended on request.
8. Check your credit report each year. It is the law that you can receive one free credit report per year from all three credit agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You should review your credit report and contact the credit agencies if you have identified any suspicious and/or incorrect information and activity.