What Do You Do If Someone Steals Your Identity?

A Man Discovers He's a Victim of Identity Theft.

What do you do if someone steals your identity?

While movies might make identity theft seem funny, the real thing is far from it. If someone has opened an account in your name, or has filed taxes in your name, or even tried to make a medical claim in your name, you’re a victim of identity theft. If you think you might be a victim of identity theft, you want to act quickly to minimize the damage done by the thief. Acting quickly means taking these steps:

  • Report the theft and make a claim on your identity theft insurance, if available.
  • Alert any company where fraudulent accounts have been used about the theft.
  • Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission because this information is used by law enforcement to catch thieves. The FTC will also provide you with a recovery plan with forms that help you file reports and dispute charges.
  • File a report with your local police. This builds a paper trail and helps law enforcement agencies track down the perpetrators.
  • Alert credit reporting agencies by placing a fraud alert on your credit report and review them for fraudulent accounts.
  • Start credit freeze to prevent access to your credit reports.
  • Have a credit monitoring service check your credit reports for suspicious activity.
  • Shore up security on accounts by changing passwords. Also shred documents with any identifying information.
  • Scan your accounts and statements for unauthorized charges.

Is identity theft a felony?

In Texas, identity theft is a felony. This means, under Texas law, you can’t transfer, obtain, use, or possess another person’s identity and intentionally defraud or harm them. Depending on how many items are found in your possession, the level of the felony charge will vary. With less than five items you’ll be charged with a state jail felony, while more than 50 items will bump those charges up to a first-degree felony. If you’ve been jailed on identity theft or any other kind of theft charges in Austin, TX and need to be bonded out, get reliable help from ATX Bail Bonds. We can be reached 24/7 at 512.834.2245.

What are the four types of identity theft?

Identity theft is usually classified into four types:

  • Medical: Someone uses another person’s identity to get medical care.
  • Criminal: Someone falsely identifies themselves to evade an arrest, conviction, or warrant under their real name.
  • Financial: Some uses another person’s identifying information or bank or credit card account information to make purchases or other fraudulent transactions.
  • Child: Someone uses a child’s identity for fraudulent purposes including getting employment or a residence.

What is the most common form of identity theft?

Of all the different types of identity theft, the most common is financial. Billions of dollars are lost annually to thieves who have stolen others identifying information to gain access to credit card, bank, and other financial accounts. Thieves get into these accounts to make purchases, take money, or they use information like stolen Social Security numbers to open accounts in another person’s name.

What are the first signs of identity theft?

Several warning signs are common for those who have fallen victim to identity thieves. One of the most common signs of identity theft is withdrawals from your bank that you didn’t make or authorize. Purchases on credit cards are often common as well.

Other things to look out for include:

  • Having checks or credit cards declined
  • Getting calls from debt collectors on debts you don’t owe
  • Strange accounts or charges on your credit report
  • Tax filings in your name from companies you don’t work for
  • Denial of claims on health insurance or claims filed on health insurance for conditions you don’t have
  • Notices of compromised data and information on your accounts or at companies with whom you’ve done business

How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

One common form of identity that is stolen is your Social Security number. This number can be used in various fraudulent activities from opening credit card accounts to falsely filing taxes. You can get a statement from the Social Security Administration that will show you the activity in which your number was used for criminal purposes. You can also keep track of bank statements, credit card statements, and credit reports to look for discrepancies.

Who to report identity theft to

If you suspect identity theft there are multiple agencies and organizations you can report it to. One of the first you should report it to is the Federal Trade Commission. They can provide you with information on recovering your information and they track reports and provide information to law enforcement to track down identity thieves. You will also want to report the theft to local police, even if the thief is in another country. This report can help authorities track thieves. Also, report suspected fraud to credit reporting agencies as well as to banks and credit card companies. If you’ve been a victim of medical fraud you can report the theft to Medicare’s fraud office or to your insurer.

Identity theft and social media

While social media can be fun and useful, it’s also a target for criminals. In some cases, criminals steal photos or other information to make fake profiles. You should always avoid giving out any information like phone numbers or email addresses on social media. No matter what you post, you have to be careful about the information you share.

A Person in Jail

Can identity theft be expunged?

If you have been convicted of identity theft in Texas it’s very difficult to get your record expunged because it’s a felony conviction. Usually any felony conviction can’t be expunged unless you are later found innocent or the charges were dismissed.

You can, however, get your record expunged if you were a victim of identity theft and your information was used to commit a crime. The person arrested has to have provided false information at the time of their arrest and the false information appeared on the criminal record because of that arrest and for no other reason.

If you have been arrested for identity theft in Austin, TX and need bail bonds help, you can always rely on the team at ATX Bail Bonds. Call us 24/7 at 512.834.2245 for assistance.