If a consumer finds themselves victim of identity theft, it is important they stay calm and are aware of the necessary steps to take to recover and take back control of their finances.
BOSTON (PRWEB) May 21, 2018
Every year consumers fall victim to identity theft. Not only can identity theft empty a consumer’s bank account, but it can also prolong any future financial plans. With the growth in anonymous transactions and easy accessibility to accounts online, it is now more important than ever that consumers know what steps to take should they find their identity stolen. To help consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides consumers with the necessary steps to take after falling victim to identity theft.
“The number of identity theft victims has continued to rise, especially within the past year,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “If a consumer find themselves victim of identity theft, it is important they stay calm and are aware of the necessary steps to take to recover and take back control of their finances.”
According to the 2018 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, 16.7 million U.S. consumers were victims of identity theft, eight percent higher than 2017 (15.4 million). A total of $16.8 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers. Account takeover losses reached $5.1 billion, tripling over the past year and reaching a four-year high. Account takeover victims spend an average of 15 hours resolving this fraud and spent about $290.
ACCC provides consumers with steps to take after falling victim to identity theft.
1. Report it – If you know your identity has been stolen, it is important to report the problem to the organization immediately.
2. Check credit – Irresponsible purchases made by identity thieves can cause serious damage to your credit score. Check your credit history for anything out of the ordinary and contact TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian to place a fraud or identity theft alert.
3. Contact banks and creditors – Consumers should report stolen or missing credit cards and any fraudulent activity on statements.
4. Contact Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – By filing a complaint with the FTC, consumers will receive an Identity Theft Affidavit to verify they are the victim.
5. Credit freeze – If you don’t need to apply for credit in the near future, it may be a good idea to freeze your credit so your report can’t be shared with creditors while identity thieves try to open new accounts.
6. Contact police – File a report with the local police. Document and report the theft to begin the investigation. Get a copy of the report as evidence for re-securing identity and removing fraudulent charges.
7. Change passwords and pin numbers – Change passwords to all accounts. Try to be creative using a variety of upper and lower case letters numbers, and symbols. When it comes to PIN numbers, avoid using the last four digits of your social security number.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, and student loan counseling call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx