There are many ways that identity theft may appear. Here, we discuss some of the less likely, and yet still very detrimental, identity theft issues. One of the most important things with identity theft is to keep an incredibly good paper trail. Keep a log of every single conversation that you have along the road to fighting identity theft. Include dates, names and phone numbers. Note how much time you spent and how much money you spent in your case in the event that you are ever able to seek restitution. You may even be able to receive a tax deduction as a theft-related expense. Confirm every conversation that you have in writing and keep copies of all of your letters, and of any replies that you receive to protect yourself.
Often times, identity thieves will establish fraudulent cell phone accounts and will leave the monthly bills unpaid. They might also have local and long distance calling that goes to your account. Contact the phone company, if this happens, and find out from them how you should report the situation. In the future, you can add a password that has to be used any time that you make local, cell phone or long distance calls.
Driver’s License Misuse
Sometimes, a thief will use your driver’s license number on bad checks or to commit other fraudulent activities. Call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to check if someone has issued a license in your name. Put a fraud alert on your license with your DMV and then go in to the DMV to get a new driver’s license number. You can fill out a complaint form to begin an investigation process.
Theft of Diseased Identity
Sometimes, identity thieves will, very cleverly, steal the identity of someone who has already died. Many companies won’t know of the death of the person and the accounts will remain open for a very long time. Identity thieves make it their business to understand this, and they look through the obituaries and find out through other means about people who have died. If you find that someone has obtained a loved one’s identity, take action immediately. Use the death certificate as proof of death, and get in touch with creditors, banks, stock brokers, mortgage companies and other institutions to tell them of the death and of the identity theft. If you are able to do this immediately when someone dies, it will probably save a great deal of headache with identity theft. A deceased alert needs to be placed on their credit rating, and joint accounts need to be consolidated and put into the other person’s name. You need to be in touch, as well, with the Social Security Administration, with insurance companies, with the DMV, with any professional licensing bodies such as the bar association, etc.
You may want to hire legal help to aid you in sorting out these issues. They may also be able to help you with any legal action that you need to take against creditors, credit bureaus and debt collectors who aren’t cooperating with your plight. You can call your local Bar Association, a Legal Aid office nearby, or the National Association of Consumer Advocates to find an attorney who specializes in consumer law and in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Don’t assume that if you experienced a small form of identity theft it will remain with that one issue – identity theft can spread very quickly and take over all financial areas of your life. Act quickly to put a stop to identity theft so that you may continue with your life as it was.