Let’s have a frank conversation.

You look at your online checking account and notice withdrawals you know you didn’t make. Or you get a notice from a debt collector, hounding you about that overdue bill to your acupuncturist in California – only you don’t have an acupuncturist, and you live in Ohio. These are telltale signs of identity theft. What now?

Recovering from identity theft can be a long and tiresome process. But the sooner you take action, the easier it is. Here are your first steps:

  1. Call the companies where you know fraud has occurred. For instance, if someone has been making withdrawals from your bank account, call the bank immediately.
  2. Place a fraud alert at one of the credit bureaus. Contact any one of the three major credit bureaus and place a 90-day credit alert (it’s free):
    • Experian – Experian.com/fraudalert OR 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion – Transunion.com/fraud OR 1-800-680-7289
    • Equifax – Equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance OR 1-888-766-0008

    Once the fraud alert has been placed, no business can issue credit in your name without verifying your identity first.

  3. Get your credit reports. You can get a free report from each bureau once a year. If you’ve already gotten yours this year, you can pay to get new ones, or fill out a form for free ones (this takes longer, however). Check through all the reports and circle any unfamiliar items you suspect are fraudulent.
  4. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov. Identity theft has become such a common occurrence that the federal government has a dedicated website to help you out: identitytheft.gov. The site will walk you through the report (to go directly to the report, go to identity.gov/Assistant, or you can call them at 1-877-438-4338.
  5. File a police report. Take a copy of your FTC report with you, as well as any evidence of fraud you have (that notice from the debt collector, your credit reports with items circled, etc.). Get a copy of the police report when you’re done, you may need it later.

And don’t forget, if you have Frankenmuth Insurance, our identity protection services are available at no cost — no matter how often you need them. We’ll pair you with a personal fraud specialist, and they’ll work to resolve your problem and restore your peace of mind. Get started now.