Credit fraud and identity theft are on the rise in the United States – and these crimes can take months to detect. Fortunately, there are things you can do as a consumer to protect your identity or reduce the financial impact of identity theft and credit fraud.
One of the best ways to deter thieves is to protect your personal information and your financial records. In addition, you need to detect unusual account activity as quickly as possible. One way to detect credit fraud is to monitor your credit report on a regular basis. If you've been the victim of credit fraud, you need to stop it in its tracks before it becomes a mangled mess of paperwork.
If you believe you've been the victim of credit fraud, one of the first things you need to do is contact one of the three national credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your account. When you contact one company, the other two companies will be alerted as well. The three national consumer reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Once you place a fraud alert, it's a good idea to close down any account you know has been tampered with. You'll also want to file a report with the local police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Identity theft can be very difficult to prosecute, but you do have rights as a consumer. Rather than sitting back and waiting for criminals to violate your rights, take a proactive step and order a credit monitoring service today.