How Can You Prevent Identity Theft

Editorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Finding out your identity has been stolen can be a hard pill to swallow. Whether you're applying for a loan and are told you don't qualify or something suspicious popped up on your credit report, getting to the bottom of the matter fast is important. You can report promptly with the help of DoNotPay and work to find a solution.

does far more than file a report to the FTC. We'll help you discover the best method for handling your particular situation. Whether you need assistance contacting the IRS about tax fraud, letting your employer know about the circumstances, or even filing a police report, DoNotPay will help in any way possible.

What Is Identity Theft?

is essentially when someone uses your personal details as their own. However, it comes in so many different forms and can vary widely. Some common examples include:

  1. Someone copying your credit card information and using your account to make purchases
  2. Someone using your name and social security number to take out a loan or open an account
  3. Someone steals your information to sell to others.
  4. Someone takes your child's identifying information and opens accounts in their name.

Signs That Indicate You’ve Been an Identity Theft Victim

Though the signs you notice may depend on the circumstances, it's still important to be aware of just what to look for when you're worried about being an identity theft victim.

  • You have a suspicious charge with your bank account.
  • You aren't receiving important mail.
  • You get denied for a loan even though you previously had a good credit score.
  • You receive a denial notification when trying to electronically file your taxes.
  • You receive text messages for account verification purposes that weren't initiated by you.
  • You get an email or letter indicating notice of a data breach with a particular company.

What Can I Do If My Identity Was Stolen?

As soon as you believe your identity or personal information may be compromised, there are a few things you should do to rectify the situation.

Immediately Change Passwords and Enhance Security FeaturesYou'll want to change passwords to your accounts if your identity has been stolen. If a criminal has access to any of your information, it can be easier for them to access various accounts with your name on them and use them to get additional details about you if they desire. It's also wise to implement enhanced security features, such as using two-factor authentication for Facebook or setting up different security question answers on your email.
Freeze Your Credit With All 3 BureausAs soon as you notice suspicious activities on your credit report or with a credit card, you can contact each of the three bureaus to freeze your credit with them. Contact Experian, Transunion, and Equifax separately and follow their procedure to make the freeze happen promptly.
Notify Necessary Companies of the CircumstancesEach person's circumstances will be different. In case someone has filed fraudulent taxes with your information, you'll have to contact the IRS. If someone is running a social security scam with your details, you must notify the Social Security Administration. Notify any necessary companies that are involved and let them know that your identity was stolen so they can help you determine additional steps to take.

Identity Theft Prevention Methods

If you haven't yet had your identity stolen, and never want to, some prevention methods can help. The aforementioned ideas for what to do if your identity was stolen can also be used in this circumstance. Changing your passwords to something stronger, making sure each account has a different password than the last, signing up for credit monitoring, and adding fingerprints to your devices will all help you avoid problems in the first place. Use them as a preventative method instead of leaving them until an "uh oh, now what" situation arises.

Reporting the Theft to the Federal Trade Commission on Your Own

The FTC should be on your first-to-contact list after an identity theft situation. You can follow the prompts on their website to submit your report. Start by going to the Identity Theft government website and clicking "Get Started." They'll want you to:

  1. Indicate your precise predicament, such as having your data breached or the fact someone used your information for unemployment purposes.
  2. Identify the type of information that was stolen or compromised, like your online passwords or bank account information.
  3. Answer yes or no to whether or not you provided said info to a scam artist.
  4. Answer yes or no if your information was utilized during fraud commitment.
  5. Follow the provided recommendation you're given based on your responses.

Let DoNotPay Help You Handle Your Identity Theft Case

You don't have to attempt to figure this out alone. It can feel incredibly overwhelming trying to get your life back in order after a thief has stolen your identity. DoNotPay can help you make any reports necessary, as long as you follow the few steps included:

  1. Search "identity theft" on DoNotPay and select the type of incident you would like to report.
  2. Tell us more about the incident that occurred, including the location, date, time, financial loss, and any suspect information you may have.
  3. We'll identify whether you should file a FTC report, contact the IRS, freeze your credit report, contact state agencies, or file a police report. Once we guide you through the best options, we'll automatically submit the reports on your behalf!

DoNotPay communicates with the appropriate parties on your behalf to reduce the amount of stress on your shoulders. We'll even upload confirmation documents for you to view and assess.

Other Identity Theft Questions DoNotPay Will Tackle

No matter what situation you're facing and what question it is you have about your case, DoNotPay will work to provide you with answers. We can answer:

and any other pressing concerns you have.

What Else Can DoNotPay Help Me Fix?

DoNotPay strives to fix any problem you're facing. We will fix:

These are just a few examples, with countless other options out there depending on what you need at the time. DoNotPay does it all.

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