In anticipation of anyone trying open any accounts in my name due to recent leaks of my personal information, I am creating an Identity Theft Recovery Plan. A lot of this information is gathered from the net and various newsletters from banks that I get.
1. Keep a record of all your accounts. Download and fill out the Free Financial Preparation Kit here. Verify your account activity by reviewing statements or an online aggregator like Yodlee. Check your credit report regularly, which can be free for many people.
2. If something suspicious does happen, place a Fraud Alert on your credit file. This was discussed in my recent post. One cool thing is that you’ll get a copy of all your credit reports for free when you do this.
3. Document any potential ID theft officially. Use the ID Theft Affidavit from the FTC. Keep notes on every phone call you make and copies of every letter you write while trying to clean up after an ID theft. Some consumers have successfully recovered money for time lost from work, postage, and other expenses incurred while recovering from an ID theft. Above all, this helps ensure that you are not liable yourself.
4. Identity theft is a crime. File a police report. It could help you later on if you are called as a witness in any prosecution of the thieves, and will extend your Fraud Alert on your credit reports.
5. Get the government involved. The Federal Trade Commission is the federal-level clearinghouse for ID theft victims. It can provide you with information and other resources to deal with the aftermath of an ID theft. The FTC also may refer you to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. Submti an official complaint via this link.