Identity theft can turn your life upside down. Not only can it hurt you financially, but it often creates wide-ranging consequences that can affect you for years to come. Fortunately, however, there are things you can do to lessen the impact of identity theft. In this article, we discuss how to recover from identity theft.
Assess the Damage
The first thing to do after an identity theft attack is to assess the damages. Specifically, you should check your accounts for charges you don’t recognize and review your credit reports for signs of fraudulent activity.
Place a Freeze on Your Credit Reports and Enable Fraud Alerts
Once you’ve determined which of your accounts were affected, you should take steps to prevent further damage. There are a few ways to do this. First, you should consider placing a freeze on your credit reports, which will prevent thieves from opening fraudulent accounts under your name. Next, you should place fraud alerts on all your credit reports. A fraud alert lets credit card companies and other creditors know that you may be a victim of identity theft.
Contact the Entities Involved
Next, you should contact each of the creditors involved in your situation. In addition to asking them to freeze your affected accounts, you should dispute all fraudulent charges on your valid accounts.
Begin Repairing Your Credit
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute any incorrect information on your credit report, including fraudulent accounts that are a result of identity theft. The FCRA requires that credit reporting agencies remove reported fraudulent accounts from your credit reports within four days or less. The removal of these accounts is an important step to take to begin repairing your credit.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Reports
Taking the above steps should significantly limit the damage caused by identity theft. However, even after doing so, you should continue to closely monitor your accounts. In other words, although taking the above actions is important, you must remain vigilant to ensure that you fully recover from (and prevent future) identity theft. Therefore, at a minimum, you should review your credit reports at least once a quarter to ensure accuracy. In fact, this is a good practice even for those who aren’t victims of identity theft.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
Finally, if you have been affected by identity theft, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. When you come to Lehrman Law for assistance, our experienced attorney will help you take steps to get your life back on track following an identity theft incident. In addition, if your situation is the result of a personal information leak, we will do what is necessary to hold the responsible entity accountable for its negligence. Please contact experienced and knowledgeable consumer class action lawyer Seth Lehrman today to schedule a free initial meeting.