stressed man with glasses

Your identity impacts many financial areas of your life. From your credit score to whether or not you can rent an apartment, doing what you can to protect this information is critical. However, if you find that you are a victim of identity theft, it’s imperative to take immediate action to prevent further damage. The following blog explores how this occurs, what to do, and how a San Diego County identity theft lawyer can assist you during these challenging and confusing times.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

There are several ways in which thieves can steal your information to pretend to be you. While most theft occurs over the internet now, perpetrators can steal mail, go through your trash, take your wallet or purse, or even break into your home to access confidential and sensitive information.

However, the large majority of theft occurs over the internet. Phishing scams, viruses, data breaches, and using unsecured Wi-Fi networks can all lead to your information being stolen. In some instances, like data breaches, your details are stolen and sold on the dark web, so others can take your identity and use it for their own personal gain, leaving you suffering the impacts.

What Can I Do as a Victim of Identity Theft?

When you discover that your identity has been compromised, it may feel like your world has shattered. Unfortunately, this can be overwhelming, as your mind will likely race with everything you must do to protect your finances and credit. However, it’s necessary to take a deep breath and proceed in a calm and collected manner.

The first thing you should do is contact your financial institutions. This includes any credit cards or lending companies that opened accounts in your name, as they can close the accounts to prevent further debt from accumulating. Additionally, you should contact your bank if you think someone opened an account in your name.

Next, you’ll want to file an FTC and police report. This is critical, as both can be used as proof that you are a victim of identity theft. The FTC report can also help provide personalized steps to recover from the impacts.

After filing the reports, you must contact the credit reporting agencies. You can place a fraud alert on your account, meaning lenders must confirm your identity before opening lines of credit in your name. This is beneficial for those in the middle of applying for loans when they discover they are the victim of identity theft. However, if you do not plan on applying for loans or accounts, it may be in your best interest to place a freeze on your account. This limits who can access your credit reports and prevents a thief from opening accounts in your name.

Finally, you must contact an experienced identity theft victim lawyer from Barthel Legal. Our team understands how devastating identity theft can be, so we are dedicated to helping you through these challenging times. Contact us today to learn how our firm can assist you.