CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Victims of identity theft need to act quickly, and Cleveland 19 has the guide to what to do first.
According to USA.gov, the first thing victims need to do once identity theft is uncovered is report it. The first agency a victim needs to contact is the Federal Trade Commission.
"The FTC is basically the nation's consumer protection agency," said Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chairman of the FTC.
Ohlhausen pointed to the resources on the FTC's website. There's a step-by-step guide that one victim of identity theft who spoke to Cleveland 19 referred to as "his bible."
First, file a complaint with the FTC and fill out an ID theft affidavit. The next step is to print out the affidavit and take it to the local police department and get a police report about the identity theft.
Both together, the affidavit and the police report, make up one identity theft report.
It's also important to report the identity theft to the three credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It's important to alert the companies so fraud alerts or freezes can be placed on the compromised account. This will ensure no one can apply for credit with the stolen name or social security number. It's important to get copies of the credit reports from each agency to see if there are unauthorized accounts opened with the stolen information.
It's also important to then contact any financial institutions like banks, credit cards and retirement accounts — anything that could have been compromised.
There may be other steps specific to the type of identity theft that need to happen next, for that information go to: https://www.identitytheft.gov.
On April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. BBB Serving Greater Cleveland and partners, RadAir Complete Car Care and Tire Centers, Cleveland 19 News, Apprisen, and All-Ohio Secure Shred, will host this helpful identity theft prevention event featuring free on-site shredding plus tips to protect your identity.
Bring up to three boxes or bags of sensitive documents for shredding at the RadAir Complete Car Care and Tire Centers at 6221 Som Center Road in Solon and 5350 North Leavitt Road in Lorain.