The 3 things you should do when your identity is stolen

Millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year. If it happens to you, it's confusing and time-consuming trying to sort everything out. Consumer Reports says there are three things you should do as soon as you discover someone has used your name and credit illegally. 

1) File a report either with the Federal Trade Commission at or with your local police department. This creates a legally binding record declaring you are a victim of identity theft. You need the report for the next step.

2) Call all of the companies where the fraud occurred. Ask to speak to someone in the fraud department. Let them know you have an ID theft report filed with the FTC or police. Ask that they place a hold on any accounts in your name and that they remove bogus charges and close accounts you never created to begin with. 

3) Lastly, contact each credit bureau and provide them with that same ID theft report. Request that the fraudulent activity is removed from your report. 

You should follow up and check your credit report in the weeks and months after taking these steps to make sure all of the fraudulent activity and accounts have been removed. 

About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.