It’s easy to find ads and offers focused on protecting you from identity theft. As the digital age introduces more and more ways for scammers, hackers, and other bad actors to get ahold of personal information, identity protection becomes an ever-bigger business. But what do you do if you wake up to the news that it’s too late, and someone is already posing as you?
One of your closest allies will be a reliable consumer reporting agency. These groups help you keep track of activity associated with your personal information, and they’re often the first place to check if you’ve been impacted by identity theft. You’ll want to get a credit report so that you can look for accounts you don’t recognize and bring them to the attention of law enforcement.
From there, consider placing a credit freeze. This makes it much harder to open new accounts in your name, which can slow down thieves and give investigators time to catch up before they do more damage. Other important steps include finding out where your information was compromised (if a third party was responsible, you might be able to seek compensation or free credit monitoring services) and filing your taxes quickly (preventing thieves from using your tax information to get a refund or a job). Stay vigilant, keep getting reports from your consumer reporting agency, and take as many steps as possible to safeguard yourself and your assets in the future.