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First, a credit card denial letter from Nordstrom appeared in the mail. Denial? For what? Chad never applied for a credit card with Nordstrom. Then came Chad's new Best Buy credit card. But he hadn't set foot in a Best Buy store or visited a Best Buy website in a decade...so how did he have a new credit card? For years, Chad has given advice on how to protect yourself from identity theft. But now he has actual experience with it. Below are some things he learned.....
We're constantly bombarded with information about identity theft. It seems most is geared towards scaring us into product purchase submission! But until you personally experience identity theft, you don't really know how it will affect you.
Chad now has personal experience. Here's his advice...
Before You Become A Victim
The header of this paragraph implies that becoming an identity theft victim is a foregone conclusion. Well, according to statistics, it pretty much is! Without boring you with every single alarming stat, it's enough to know that there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft in 2017 alone. That's about 1 in 15 people. So, what can you do to protect yourself now?
1) Credit Monitoring - sign up for a credit monitoring service that will inform you any time an inquiry hits your credit report. Your social security number is generally needed for most ID theft...especially financial. And your social is tied to your credit report. So it helps to have your report monitored!
2) Restoration Services - this is the lesser known item most should have. It's not only important to know your ID has been compromised (credit monitoring), it's equally important to have a professional help you recover your ID. That's where restoration services come in. Chad was fortunate to have this, and it was a huge time saver. Having restoration services provided him with a personal guide through the process. See the section below for steps Chad took using the guidance of his Restoration Specialist.
After You Become A Victim
Hopefully you'll never have to heed this advice. But if you become a victim, follow these steps:
1) Check your credit report to view all inquiries. This way you know the extent and specific companies of the compromised info.
2) Consider placing a freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports.
3) Contact your Restoration Service company to inform them of the activity (see above for more details on this service). You'll now have a guide to take you through the steps below.
4) Submit a report about the theft to the Federal Trade Commission's website or call the FTC's toll-free hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
5) If you're a victim of medical ID theft, notify your insurance and medical providers. Get copies of your medical files and have them corrected, as needed.
6) Contact the Fraud Department for each compromised creditor so they can initiate their research.
7) File a police report immediately. Most creditors will want to see your claim is warranted.
8) Follow up to ensure all invalid accounts have been closed and all activity removed from your credit report.
Feel free to email us any personal experience you've had with identity theft. That way we can share with others and help further educate us all!