If you believe your identity has been compromised, here are the steps that we recommend you take:
- Contact your bank and inform them of this issue.
- Report your case to the relevant office through USA.gov and file a police report with your local police department.
- Freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This will prevent anyone from opening any new lines of credit.
- Check your credit reports from all the three credit bureaus to identify any errors. You're entitled to one free credit report from each bureau per year, by law. You can submit a request here.
- Know your rights. If this is a case of identity theft, your bank or credit card issuer is held responsible for any losses.
- If you believe the fraud to be committed by a family member and you're unable to turn your family member into the police, you can start the process to rebuild your credit score on your own. It will take time and persistence, but it's possible to do.
- Additionally, if the fraudulent accounts have gone to collections, it's important to be cautious and to know your rights when dealing with debt collectors. Here's a resource that may be helpful: 3 Strategies to Deal With Debt Collectors.
If your issue is not resolved by following these steps, we encourage you to reach out to the National Association of Consumer Advocates.