Identity Theft Recovery: The Road Back
Not too long ago, a friend of mine mentioned that one of his coworkers recently recovered his stolen identity. I asked how long the process took. "Only
two years" he replied.
Compared to my business partner's six year nightmare "only" maybe appropriate but like most victims of identity theft, he probably thought "when". As
in, "when will I get my life back?"
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer nonprofit organization, reported that victims spend on average 175 hours trying to recover their identity,
often over a period of years. Factor in out of pocket expenses, (usually over $1,500 according to the FTC) and recovery gets painfully magnified.
What are the steps to identity restoration? It starts with obtaining a police report. That report doesn't mean other law enforcement agencies have been
contacted. Yet you must do a complete search of local and federal law enforcement databases too find out if anything else, including criminal activity
exists on your identity.
You're also going to need the police report to contact the many and I mean many different agencies and organizations, including the Social Security
Administration, The Federal Trade Commission, all of your financial institutions, the 3 major credit bureaus, the Passport Office, The Department of
Motor Vehicles, the Post Office, as well as the Medical Information Bureau . All of these places must be sent a fraud notification alert. Concerning your
financial institutions, get them to cancel your credit cards and close your bank accounts. Find out from your bank about any suspicious activity, such
as accounts tampered with or opened fraudulently. Reopen new bank accounts with password verification.
Know your rights. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1992, you must be told not only what's in your file but if that information is being used
against you. The Federal Trade Commission recently expanded the rights available to victims of identity theft, including your right to get negative