“Getting your identity back” after it’s stolen can be a nightmarish process. Identity theft can creep into every area of your life, putting you at risk for everything from financial ruin, to an arrest, to a potentially fatal mistake resulting from having fraudulent information placed in your medical records.
It all starts with a police report, which isn’t always easy to obtain. Some police departments claim “cross-jurisdiction” issues and don’t want to take the report; they are difficult to solve and bring the police department’s metrics down. Keep fighting it; get a report filed with any law enforcement agency that will take it. You will need to have that report in hand in order to dispute charges, issue fraud alerts and freezes, and deal with any other issues that might arise as the result of the theft.
Start with putting a credit freeze on your report. Do this only after you’ve shut down any bank accounts that were tampered with and opened your new one. Once the credit freeze is in place no new accounts can be opened. You can call and get the freeze removed if you are applying for credit, but in the meantime nobody can open any new accounts.
Now it’s time to tackle your criminal record and driving record. If you are living in a state that currently offers an “identity passport” then you should get one right away so you don’t get arrested for crimes committed in your name. Without doing this police will have no choice but to arrest you so they can verify your identity if they pull you over and figure out you’re attached to a rap sheet. You can also go down to your local DMV and request a fraud report on your license.
Tackle your medical records next. Pull them and look for any conditions or procedures that don’t match your experience. You’ll have to begin the long road of getting that information removed, and unfortunately there is no way to put a “medical alert freeze” into place.
Now, order a copy of your Social Security earnings statement. This statement will tell you if any excess income has been reporting. If there is, someone used your identity to get a job and may be planning on collecting your tax refund and Social Security benefits later.
Finally, visit www.privacyrights.org. They have detailed procedures for dealing with almost any sort of identity theft you can think of, and they pay attention to the latest laws and advances that are available. Slowly but surely you should be able to close up all of the holes and get your life back.