Tips for choosing an ID theft consultant:
- Check to make sure the person has credible references.
- Ask about what resources they use in helping solve problems regarding identity theft and if they are relevant to your situation.
- Ask if the person follows the guidelines outlined by the attorney general’s office and the Federal Trade Commission.
- Ask if they have had first-hand experience with identity theft and what the outcome was.
- Make sure that there is a clear understanding of what the fees are, what they include, and make sure you get it in writing.
- Ask about their success ratio and if you can see written testimony from past clients.
Step One: File a report with your local police department. If the identity theft did not take place within your area, file a report with the police from the area where the theft took place. Make sure you get a copy of the police report.
Step Two: Close accounts. If you notice any accounts under your name that have been tampered with or opened without your consent, close them immediately. The longer an identity thief has access to these accounts, the more money you could lose. Call each bank or company and then follow up in writing.
Step Three: Call the three credit reporting bureaus and place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file.
Step Four: Review your credit report for:
- Accounts you did not open;
- Debits on your account you did not know about;
- Inquiries from companies you don’t know;
- Inaccurate information.
Step Five: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.