November 01, 2017
What to do if your identity is stolen.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov.
IdentityTheft.gov is a service provided by the federal government. You can report your problem and get a recovery plan started.
- Notify card issuers and account managers.
If your debit or credit card has been compromised, lost or stolen, contact the card issuer to cancel the card and request a new one. (You can report a lost or stolen Commerce Bank card here.) Likewise, if your bank account has been jeopardized, close the account and open a new one. If you think someone might be using your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration. For a missing driver's license, report the problem to your local motor vehicles department. They may suggest that you apply for a duplicate.
- Update online information.
If you suspect someone has stolen your login information, change passwords immediately, as well as your username, if possible. (If you use the same password in multiple places, change them all — ideally making them all different from each other.) If you can't log in to your account, contact the website directly for assistance.
- Update automatic payments.
If you have automatic payments related to a compromised card, bank account or website, make sure to update the payment information as soon as you have a new card, account or password.
- Consider placing a freeze on your credit.
A credit freeze would restrict access to your credit report, making it harder for anyone to open new accounts in your name. To place a freeze, contact all three of the credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Expect to pay from $5 to $10 per freeze request. If you're applying for a loan, you'll need to temporarily lift the freeze by contacting the same three agencies, and expect to pay another $5 to $10 fee.
- Place a fraud alert.
Consider placing an initial fraud alert, which requires a business to verify your identity before granting credit. This also makes it harder for someone else to open new accounts in your name. An initial alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed. To place a free fraud alert, contact any one of the three credit reporting agencies listed above; the first one you contact is required to notify the other two.
- Diligently monitor your accounts.
Regularly check your bank, credit and other financial accounts for any transactions you don't recognize. Your bank’s mobile application can be useful for this. Order copies of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and check for unfamiliar accounts or transactions.
Realizing your identity is at risk can be a stressful experience. Fortunately, there are ways to increase protection against the threat if it happens to you. If you believe you’ve been the target of a fraud attempt, please contact your bank right away.
- Financial documents: What to keep and when to toss.
- Why it’s a good idea to check your credit report every year.