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[Legal Q&A] What exactly is identity theft?

#Identity theft

Identity theft is a form of criminal behavior that involves the unauthorized stealing and use of another person’s identity and pretending to be someone else. Most commonly, people steal identities to improve their credit score, apply for credit cards, loans, open accounts, etc. or to get a job.

What should I do if my identity is stolen, and what rights do I have as a victim?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you certain rights when you are a victim or potential victim of identity theft. In addition, credit card and bank accounts often have options such as fraud alerts and security freezes, and we encourage you to explore these options in advance. If you suspect identity theft or fraud, you should immediately contact your financial institution and change the passwords on all of your credit cards and other accounts at the same time. You should also contact the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to activate a fraud alert on your credit profile as soon as you become aware of the theft or fraud. You should also visit your local police department to file a police report if any of the following conditions are met.

  • If you know who has stolen your identity
  • You can provide certain information that may be helpful to a police investigation.
  • A creditor or other entity requests a police report as part of an investigation.
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