Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. This can happen in some ways, including through data breaches, phishing scams, or simply stealing your wallet or purse. Once someone has your personal information, they can use it to open new accounts in your name, run up debt, or even commit crimes.
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of identity theft, it’s essential to act quickly to protect your information and credit score. You can place a fraud alert on your credit report, which will notify creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. You can also file a police report and identity theft report, which can help document the crime and protect your rights.
You are also entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. This free credit report can help you determine if your personal information has been compromised and identify any fraudulent activity that may have occurred.
It’s essential to check your credit report regularly, even if you haven’t been a victim of identity theft, as it’s one of the best ways to catch errors and prevent fraud. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Reviewing your credit report can help you see identity theft early, so you can take steps to resolve the issue and protect your credit.
You can dispute errors with the credit bureau if you find errors on your credit report. You should also contact the companies where the fraudulent activity occurred to inform them that you are a victim of identity theft. By taking these steps, you can help to protect your credit score and prevent further damage.
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