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Why You Need To Report Identity Theft Immediately

The crime of identity theft is steadily rising, and the reason for this is that most people do not realize exactly how easy the crime is to commit by those who are intent on doing so. Carelessly throwing those credit card offers you get in the mail all the time without ripping them up beyond recognition or shredding them as almost as good as wearing a sign around your neck that says "I want to be a victim of identity theft".
Briefly, identity theft is when someone opens credit card accounts, department store accounts, or even bank loans in your name, using your information and your social security number. This obviously happens without your knowledge. While there are certain safeguards in place, banks and department stores are more than anxious to get your business, and are often a bit too quick on the trigger to approve a new application without thorough investigation. The first you have heard about it is when you get a phone call from the bank or department store asking why your account is past due, and you do not even have an account with them.
Another way this happens, and senior citizens are often the target of this approach, is when someone gets an email from what appears to be their bank, complete with their bank logo and what appears to be the bank's return email address. Yes, this type of email is very official-looking, and in some cases is even better than what the bank would send out themselves. The email asks the recipient to go to this site or click this link because there was a problem with the account and they need to verify your identity so that their system can "correct an error". This is known as "phishing" and an incredible number of people fall for this scam very year. Your bank will NEVER ask you to verify personal information online, so NEVER respond to such an email, or if you are concerned that it may be real, CALL your bank first to ask if the email is real.
If you find that you have become of victim of identity theft, you need to report it immediately. Doing so will help the situation, and will avoid more damage being done, particularly financial damage to you that you may be responsible for, or have a very difficult time getting away from.
First, report it to the police. They need to know that this has happened. While it is unlikely that they can catch the thief, there is always that chance if this is reported as quickly as possible, and your insurance company is going to give you a very hard time if they find that you have NOT reported the theft to the police.
Next, contact the creditors of the accounts that were opened by the thief and let them know that you are a victim of identity theft. They need to be made aware that they approved credit without thorough investigation and they can put a stop on any and all future possible charge transactions on that account. While this step is necessary, it is almost pointless because by the time you find out you are a victim of identity theft, chances are better than excellent that the thief has already charged that account to the hilt.
Also, notify the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Since the thief has your personal information, they may try to open additional accounts at other places. Once you have notified the credit bureaus of this, they will flag your credit report as being a possible identity theft victim, and it will be very difficult for anyone (unfortunately, including you) to open any new accounts for awhile.
Taking all these steps as quickly as possible is going to be your best insurance to minimize damages done. Discovering that you are a victim of identity theft is not a pleasant experience, and you can look forward to weeks and months of frustrations in getting it all straightened out, but to protect yourself and your credit rating, it is absolutely something you need to do quickly.
You may also want to visit our web site to find out how to protect yourself from identity theft in the first place, so you don't have to worry about it.
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