Title: Identity Theft Recovery: The Road Back
Author: Daryl Campbell
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Identity Theft Recovery: The Road Back
by Daryl Campbell
Not too long ago, a friend of mine mentioned that one of his
coworkers recently recovered his stolen identity. I asked how
long the process took. "Only two years" he replied.
Compared to my business partner's six year nightmare "only"
maybe appropriate but like most victims of identity theft, he
probably thought "when". As in, "when will I get my life back?"
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer nonprofit organization,
reported that victims spend on average 175 hours trying to
recover their identity, often over a period of years. Factor in
out of pocket expenses, (usually over $1,500 according to the
Federal Trade Commission) and recovery gets painfully magnified.
What are the steps to identity restoration? It starts with
obtaining a police report. That report doesn't mean other law
enforcement agencies have been contacted. Yet, you must do a
complete search of local and federal law enforcement databases
to find out if anything else, including criminal activity exists
on your identity.
You're also going to need the police report to contact the many
and I mean many different agencies and organizations, including
the Social Security Administration, The Federal Trade Commission,
all of your financial institutions, the 3 major credit bureaus,
the Passport Office,The Department of Motor Vehicles, the Post
Office, as well as the Medical Information Bureau. All of these
places must be sent a fraud notification alert.
Concerning your financial institutions, get them to cancel your
credit cards and close your bank accounts. Find out from your
bank about any suspicious activity, such as accounts tampered
with or opened fraudulently. Reopen new bank accounts with
Know your rights. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of
1992, you must be told not only what's in your file but if that
information is being used against you. The Federal Trade
Commission recently expanded the rights available to victims of
identity theft, including your right to get negative information
due to fraud blocked from your records.
This brings us to the credit bureaus. Make sure your credit
report reflects the identity theft and gets flagged with a fraud
alert. Many victims have received assurances that the matter
would be resolved, however months and sometimes years later, the
credit bureaus have not cleared their records. This without a
doubt ranks as THE biggest headache for identity theft victims.
Once a negative gets put on your record, it seems the credit
bureaus refuse to remove it, in spite of the countless
documentation you provide to them. This can affect you well into
the future when buying a house, car or any other big ticket item.
If you are going to do this by yourself, constant follow up is
critical. That goes for all the organizations but especially the
credit bureaus. Be diligent until the matter gets resolved.
Getting a lawyer wouldn't be a bad idea.
Stay Away from "credit repair companies". No matter what they
advertise, there's usually nothing they can do to help you with
identity theft. Some of them even offer to help you apply for
credit under a new identity. Hello? When trying to eliminate
fraud from your record you don't want to create more fraud!
Advise the utility companies. It's not just bank accounts and
credit cards. Many identity thieves commit fraud by opening
telephone accounts, purchasing cable television or establishing
credit with the gas & electric companies, in the hopes it will
go unnoticed for as long as possible.
If necessary get counseling. Identity theft can be a shattering
experience mentally and emotionally. Victims and family members
often feel violated. It's not their fault of course but the
feelings remain. A network of support groups and counselors
exists if you need it.
The road back from identity theft can take years, cost a lot of
money,and cause much stress and pain . But with follow up,
support and belief that the nightmare will end...the nightmare
Copyright © 2005 Daryl Campbell
About Daryl: Daryl Campbell owns and operates WintheMarket.com
(http://www.winthemarket.com). Identity theft can be devastating.
Restoring your good name can be overwhelming and costly. If
identity theft happens, you need more that do it yourself
information. Let the experts do the work for you. For free
information go to http://digbig.com/4cmcg now.
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