Identity Theft: Before and After

FEB 14, 2014

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Prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when it comes to protecting your identity, its important to be prepared to do both. Take steps to secure your identity and have a plan for what youll do if the worst does happen.

Identity protection tips

You can take action to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

  • Keep a close eye on bank accounts, and be aware of common signs of fraud and identity theft. Often, this is the first place where signs of identity theft will appear.
  • Regularly check your credit report. If theres an unauthorized credit inquiry or opened account in your name, its likely a sign of identity theft.
  • Secure your digital devices with passwords and security software. And never use an unsecured wireless network to access financial accounts.
  • When shopping online, protect your personal information by purchasing from secure and safe on websites those with a padlock symbol near the bottom of the page.
  • Keep your wallet lean and clean carry only the identification and credit cards you need.
  • Guard your Social Security number; dont carry the card or share the number with any business that doesnt have a compelling reason to require it.

Recovery assistance

If you become the target of identity thieves, you can take action to mitigate the damage and recover.

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the credit bureaus. This will tell creditors and the credit bureaus that your identity has been compromised, and make it harder for identity thieves to obtain new credit using your identity.
  • File an identity theft report with the appropriate authorities.
  • Send a letter to your credit card companies, mortgage holder and other creditors with a copy of the report so that they know your identity has been compromised.

Protecting yourself and your hard-earned credit from identity theft needs to be a two-pronged approach. Its important to give equal attention to prevention and recovery preparation.


This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc., an Experian company.     © 2014, Inc.   All rights reserved.