If you think you have been a victim of identity theft here is some advice that may help you.
1. Take a look at the information you gave. How personal was it? Social Security office, Name, Address, Phone number, Date of Birth, email address?
2. People can find out a variety of things about you just by running an Internet searches on such information. You should run a search on your information like your name or address and see what comes up. try using your proper name first like Rebecca J. Smith instead of Becky Smith. Try different combinations like your name the city your live in, your name and address, your name and state, your name and an old address.
3. If you find something you don't want seen on the web you might be able to ask the website owner to remove the content. Most of the time that information has been provided by you through website profiles in that case you should be able to log into your profile at that website and edit that information, if not contact the site owner and see if there is a way to mask the information you don't want shown. If it's a web page of a news report then chances are you won't be able to do anything, except keep yourself out of the news.
4. Social Security has a toll-free number that operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday: 1-800-772-1213. If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
5. You can have your number flagged for up to 7 years. This requires companies who want to run a credit check on you to take additional steps to verify it's really you. The additional steps can range from a phone call to your house or a verification letter to your most recent address, not necessarily the address written on the application they received but the most recent one that is on your credit report.
6. This brings me to another suggestion. Get a credit report. Check for suspicious activity such as additional address's, credit card companies whom you didn't apply to running credit checks, marital status change, various spellings of your name. If there are any report it to the credit report company.
By federal law each US citizen is entitled to one free credit report a year from each credit reporting company. The only really free credit report can be obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com The link provided goes to the federal trade commissions web page about the free credit report. It also has useful information regarding consumers rights about obtaining a free credit report.
7. Gave out bank account or credit card information?
Call the bank or credit card company immediately. Do a balance check and an activity check. Notify them your account has been compromised, don't say maybe or you think, tell them it has been. They can assist you on what to do. In extreme cases your may need to close those accounts to prevent the fraud. Yes, it is a pain but would you rather have the fraud stopped or have it ruin you? You may need to through your statements to see if there was any unusual small amount activity. Sometimes what scammers like to do is test the waters with a small charge see if it goes unnoticed and if it doesn't they start charging like crazy.
8. It is always a good idea to check your bank account activity regularly, especially if you have a debit card or ATM card attached to it. You don't have to give out your banking information in order to have your bank account or debit card compromised. Sometimes all it takes is a card swipe at a store or at an ATM machine or a database breach.
9. Someone calls you, they say they area a representative from your bank, a credit card company, a sweepstakes give away, a state official, doctors office, utility bill company and they are asking you for information like your social security number, credit card information, maybe address.
A. Don't give out ANY information. If it is someone claiming to be from your credit card company tell them you are busy and you will call them back. If they give you a number to call back write it down don't use it. Check it against the customer service number on the back of your credit card if it is different then only call the customer service number from the back of the credit card. Explain why you are calling and verify if everything is okay.
B. If it is someone claiming to be a government official still do not give out any information. But do note what office they claim to be calling from, call 411 ask for the number to that government office and call back. If it really is that office calling they will know why you called and will have a record of them calling you, if it wasn't then tell them in detail about the phone call you received. Even if the person resorts to threats of arrest do not give them any information, a scammer is always looking for ways to catch their victim off guard threats of legal action is one of them.
C. Sweepstakes- Calls saying you won something. Don't tell them anything, especially if they tell you they need a credit card number to hold your prize or to verify you are the winner. The point of a sweepstakes is to win something without cost to you and without you needing to give out credit card information for it. Tell them thanks but not thanks.
D. Bank call- They want to verify some information may say they think your account has been compromised and they want to take care of it right away. Banks go by the philosophy of "Don't ask first, ask for forgiveness later". What this means is if the bank really thinks your account has been compromised and you haven't reported it they will automatically shut down your account or access to your debit/atm card no questions asked. They will wait for you to call them to find out what is going on with your account, if it's a mistake they apologize but explain they were protecting your account which is true.
There are a few banks who will call first if you think that is the case tell them you will call them back. If you know the number to your bank call it or call 411 get the number to your bank and call that number back.
If at any time when someone calls, claims to be an official representative of anything and you don't feel comfortable take down their information and you verify it through 411, the internet, or the phone book.