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What To Do After Identity Theft

Conduct a thorough review of the state of your family member’s finances:

Federal agencies can help victims of identity theft. They also provide useful information about reporting a fraud what steps to take if your identity is stolen, and what your rights are as a victim of identity theft. See:

Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes

Fraud victims have the option of placing a temporary fraud alert on their credit report. 

Fraud alerts ensure that creditors contact a person before any new accounts are opened in his/her name, or when changes are made to his/her existing accounts. Only people who have had their identity stolen, or who suspect it may have been stolen, may place fraud alerts.

To create a temporary Fraud Alert, contact one of the three major credit bureaus:

The credit bureau you contact will place alerts with the other two credit bureaus. After placing an alert, a victim is entitled to ask for a free copy of credit reports from all three major credit bureaus.

Fraud alerts are mainly effective in preventing new credit accounts from being opened in a victim’s name. They are not likely to stop thieves from using a victim’s existing accounts or from opening new accounts, especially those for which credit is not checked. Furthermore, businesses can still check a victim’s credit report when a fraud alert is in place.

There are two types of fraud alerts:

Credit Freezes prevent potential creditors and other third parties from accessing a victim’s credit report, unless a victim lifts the freeze or already has a relationship with the company. Some consumers use credit freezes because they feel this option provides more protection.

We would like to acknowledge the Los Angeles Scam Working Group and Bet Tzedek, whose research informed this article.

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