What you need to do if it happens to you
Identify theft remains a very real threat in 2013, so much so that Georgia has made it a felony offense (Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 6-9-121). If you don’t want your good name and reputation sullied by the illegal actions of others, potentially saddling you with financial burdens you didn’t incur, then it is important to follow the following guidelines:
- The moment you suspect or know your identity has been co-opted, contact your local police and file a report.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Atlanta, GA-based Equifax.
- Keep a log of all communication related to the theft, including people you spoke with in person or by phone, and the dates and times. Keep any emails or other electronic transcripts as well.
- Contact the companies that issued your credit cards about the situation. They will likely place immediate holds on your accounts, cancel your existing cards and issue new cards. During this transition period, make sure other creditors know about the situation.
- Contact your bank(s). Expect that you may have to cancel and reopen accounts, and cancel automatic bill payments until your accounts are straightened out.
These are the basic steps you should take to protect yourself following an identity theft, but there will be much more you will have to do. For more information, visit the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection online. And should you encounter an unreasonable creditor that demands you pay for purchases made by the thief, contact our bankruptcy law office for help protecting your rights.