David Papp Blog

What You Should Do If Your Identity is Stolen

You may know how to prevent identity theft from happening to you, but do you know what you should do if it does happen? There are some important steps that you should follow if your identity is stolen.

Contact your local national credit bureaus (Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada) to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is vital since it requires companies to verify your identity before issuing a line of credit and prevent thieves from opening new accounts under your name.

If your thief opened new accounts, contact your creditors and notify them of the fraudulent activity. They will close your accounts and ask you to complete a fraud affidavit. Your creditors will also tell you how long your thief has been operating under your identity and how much of your money was stolen.

Next, contact your local police department and file a report. A detective will be assigned to your case and ask where the charges occurred, how much money was spent, and how your identity was stolen (e.g. Internet, lost wallet).

It’s in your best interest to change all of your passwords that you use online because your thief may have accessed your personal details through your password-protected accounts. Try to use a different password for each of your accounts and avoid saving your passwords on your computer.

Visit your local registry agent office in person to get a new driver’s license if you have lost your wallet or if you suspect that someone is using your driver’s license. Even if you just renewed your license, you need to take a new picture and pay all of the regular fees.

Remember to record all of the important details relating to your case, such as the names of creditors, companies, employers, and detectives. Fraud affidavits may require your detective’s name and the case number. You should also write down the date, time, and a short summary of any discussions. Keep this information in a safe place until your case is closed.

10 thoughts on “What You Should Do If Your Identity is Stolen”

  1. It would be the most alarming experience I would ever have if this thing happened to me. Someone stealing your identity is scary. Thanks for giving away all necessary actions to be undertaken. This would mean a lot of help.

  2. It hasn’t happened to me yet, and I don’t know anyone who has ever had his/her identity stolen. The only thing I’m sure I’ll be doing first is to contact all the important organizations that I’m associated with. I might call the police if I have an idea of who is using my identity but after that, I don’t know how else the government (I’m in Southeast Asia) can help me given how identity theft is not something they are experienced in dealing with.

  3. Sometimes it scares me when I think about all the risks there are in our everyday life. It’s so easy for criminals to get your data and they can do so much with it. I’m glad I found your site because you write a lot about those things and as I am reading here I really think it makes me able to improve security in my life.

  4. Thank you for this information. While having one’s identity stolen must be extremely stressful and frightening at least there are steps to take in the aftermath to minimize the damage.

    It is scary how the Internet can make such theft so easy and so in this context it’s a good reminder that we should not keep using the same password for all accounts. The consequences could be cataclysmic so it is more than worth the extra effort to have strong passwords that are unique to each site.

    But as far as credit cards go, at least we are not completely helpless. I remember a few years ago, I was making a much larger that usual online purchase with one of my credit cards, and it was denied by the credit card company. I had to call them and verify that I was the one making the purchase. The minor inconvenience was nothing as I was so glad to see their fraud prevention in action.

    • Yes, the Internet is a big reason why identity theft is so common. My information was stolen and used on two different websites. One was a porn website and my wife saw the charges from that site on my account and it became incredibly uncomfortable. I guess these are the risks that you run when you do a lot of online shopping. I advise anyone who has had their identity stolen to file a police report.

  5. I have had my identity stolen multiple times. The tips above are excellent. I actually went to my local police station to file a police report once and it took forever to get everything settled and in order. Gosh, what a nightmare this identity theft is. I’ve been changing my passwords every 6 months now. I’m willing to do anything to avoid having my identity stolen again.

  6. This is a great article. I certainly wouldn’t have a clue of where to start in a situation like identity theft. You can never be too prepared for what might happen in life. Hopefully we’ll never need to use this information, but it’s always good to have it stored away, just in case.

  7. I’ve had my identity stolen before and it is not fun. It makes me feel angry just thinking about it. Recovering all of my info and getting new account numbers and cards was quite a long and taxing process. I luckily was reimbursed for what the thief took. I hope I never have to go through that again. I am extra careful with my passwords and wallet these days.

  8. This is a really in-depth guide that’s very informative. I have friends who’ve had their identities stolen, and they’ve had no idea what to do after they finally realized what happened. I honestly hope that this doesn’t happen to me or anyone else, but with the amount of info that is put out online nowadays, and what’s stored on databases that can be compromised easily is one of the things we need to protect ourselves from.

  9. This is quite extensive steps you have to take to recover from identity theft, which makes me hope even more that I never have to deal with this. I feel sorry for anyone that has to take on such a grueling task. It’s unfortunate that these kind of activities are conducted by such ruthless, inconsiderate criminals with a motive.

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