How to Securely Rebuild After Your Identity Has Been Stolen

 

When you find out that your identity has been stolen,  you may feel angry and as though you have been violated in a way. Getting life back to normal again can seem very daunting; however, don’t let the process overwhelm you. If you break things down into smaller tasks, recovering from an identity theft can be a little less complicated than you may think. Keep in mind the following steps to start the process of rebuilding after an identity theft.

  • Issue a Fraud Alert – A fraud alert can be placed on your credit report to help protect you from the ongoing problems of identity theft. Having a fraud alert placed on your credit file means your creditors will have to contact you and talk to you directly before credit is issued or a charge is authorized. There are two types of fraud alerts—one is temporary and one is more “permanent” lasting up to seven years. If you know your identity has been stolen, taking advantage of the seven-year alert makes sense.
  • File an Identity Theft Report – This report is filed with the police and government agencies. It is a statement in your own words explaining what happened in regards to your identity theft case. This is where you also share information about what accounts are not yours and which charges you did not make. There will also be information reported about your passport and birth certificate—preventing a thief from traveling using your name.
  • Keep Vigilant – Keep an eye on your credit file. This may mean pulling your credit report on a monthly basis, or you may want to invest in a credit monitoring service (ProtectMyID is one such service). This may take time, but it is worth it if it can help you prevent further charges and issues cropping up in the future.
  • Cautiously Rebuild – You probably had to cancel your credit cards and make other changes in your credit usage—especially if your identity was “trashed” by a thief. It may be difficult, but you need to start taking steps to rebuild your credit. Talk to your bank or credit union and find out what it would take to get a small credit card in your name again.

These steps may help you get over the actual identity theft itself; however, you may still be facing some difficulties dealing with the issue emotionally. Do not be afraid to seek help for this as well. Talking with a professional may be a good idea. After all, identity theft is a highly personal crime and there is no need for the thief to “steal” your overall sense of well-being also!

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