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Resources > Identity Protection > If You Fear You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Fraud, Who Do You Contact To Freeze Your Credit?

If You Fear You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Fraud, Who Do You Contact To Freeze Your Credit?

Identity fraud is a serious and growing concern—with the increasing amount of personal information circulating online, it has become easier for criminals to steal and misuse your identity.

In such cases, one of the crucial steps you can take is to freeze your credit. But if you fear you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, who do you contact to freeze your credit? This article will provide essential information on who to contact in case of identity theft and guide you through the process of freezing your credit.

What Is Identity Fraud?

Identity fraud, also known as identity theft, occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses your personal information, such as your Social Security number (SSN), credit card details, or bank account information, without your consent. Common methods employed by identity thieves include:

  • Phishing emails
  • Data breaches
  • Stealing physical documents like your driver’s license

The consequences of identity fraud can be severe, ranging from financial loss and damaged credit to legal troubles and emotional distress. So, it’s crucial to take immediate action if you suspect you may have become a victim.

Signs of Identity Fraud

Recognizing the signs of potential identity theft is essential for prompt intervention. Some common indicators include:

  • Unauthorized transactions or withdrawals on your bank or credit card statements
  • Unfamiliar accounts on your credit report
  • Receiving bills or statements for accounts you didn’t open
  • Missing mail or important documents
  • Notifications from creditors or debt collectors regarding unfamiliar debts

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to investigate further and report any suspicious activities.

Steps To Take if You’ve Fallen Victim to Identity Fraud

Dealing with identity fraud can be a stressful and challenging experience, but taking the right steps promptly can help you mitigate the damage and protect your financial well-being. If you suspect you’ve been the victim of identity fraud, follow these steps:

  1. Contact your local police department
  2. File a claim with your identity theft insurance provider
  3. Notify relevant companies of your stolen identity
  4. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  5. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports

Contact Your Local Police Department

Report the identity theft to your local law enforcement agency, typically your city or county police department. Provide them with the evidence you’ve gathered, including any documentation of fraudulent transactions or accounts.

The police report will create an official record of the identity theft—request a copy of the report and make sure it includes all relevant details.

File a Claim With Your Identity Theft Insurance Provider

If you have identity theft insurance, it can be a valuable resource in recovering from identity fraud. Contact your insurance provider to initiate the claims process. Your policy may cover various expenses related to identity theft, such as legal fees, lost wages, and the cost of reclaiming your identity. Be sure to provide the insurance company with all the necessary documentation, including police reports and evidence of the fraud.

Notify Relevant Companies of Your Stolen Identity

One of the first actions you should take is to contact all relevant companies and institutions you suspect the identity thief has targeted. This includes banks, credit card companies, utility providers, online retailers, and any other businesses that may have accounts or services opened fraudulently in your name.

Inform them of the identity theft and take the following precautions:

  • Close or freeze the affected accounts to prevent further unauthorized transactions
  • Provide them with a copy of your identity theft report or case number for their records
  • Ask for any documentation or affidavits they require to confirm the fraudulent activity

Keep records of all communications with these companies, including names of representatives, dates, and details of the conversations.

File a Report With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Visit the federal government’s official website for identity theft victims (IdentityTheft.gov) or call its identity theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338 to file a complaint.

The FTC will provide you with an identity theft affidavit, which serves as an official record of the theft and can be helpful when disputing fraudulent accounts and transactions with creditors and businesses. The FTC also provides valuable resources and guidance on how to recover from identity theft and protect yourself from further harm.

Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports

Having taken the crucial steps, you may wonder—why should you notify the credit bureaus if you are a victim of identity theft? Once notified, the major credit bureaus place a fraud alert on your credit report, preventing further unauthorized access and financial damage.

A fraud alert is a notice on your credit report that informs potential creditors they need to verify your identity before extending credit in your name. It typically lasts for one year but can be extended as needed.

Who Should You Contact To Freeze Your Credit?

You should consider freezing your credit as an extra layer of protection. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit reports, making it challenging for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

To freeze your credit, contact the three major credit bureaus online, by phone, or through regular mail and follow their procedures for freezing and unfreezing your credit. Here’s how you can reach them:

Credit BureauContact Number
Equifax1-800-525-6285
Experian1-888-397-3742
TransUnion1-800-680-7289

In most cases, you can initiate a credit freeze online by following the instructions provided on the respective credit bureau’s website. This usually involves providing necessary information, such as your name, SSN, date of birth, and current address.

The Importance of Freezing Your Credit

A credit freeze offers powerful protection against the ever-present threat of identity theft and financial fraud. Here are the main reasons why freezing your credit is crucial:

  1. Prevents unauthorized access
  2. Mitigates the risk of identity theft
  3. Protects your financial future
  4. Preserves your credit score

Prevents Unauthorized Access

A credit freeze is like a fortress around your credit reports—when you freeze your credit, you block unauthorized access to your financial history. This means that identity thieves will find it difficult—if not impossible—to open new credit accounts or take out loans or credit cards in your name.

Mitigates the Risk of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a multi-step process that starts with the theft of personal information. When identity thieves obtain your SSN, date of birth, and other identifying details, they can use this data to apply for credit accounts or loans in your name. A credit freeze disrupts this process by denying them access to your credit reports, thwarting their efforts to misuse your identity.

Protects Your Financial Future

Identity fraud can lead to severe financial consequences, including substantial debt, damaged credit scores, and legal issues resulting from fraudulent activities in your name. A credit freeze acts as a proactive defense mechanism, shielding your financial future from these threats.

Preserves Your Credit Score

Maintaining good credit is crucial for securing loans, mortgages, and favorable interest rates—and identity theft can damage your credit score if left unchecked. Children are especially vulnerable to identity theft because their clean credit histories make it easier for thieves to create and misuse their identities while undetected. By freezing your credit and that of your children, you prevent unauthorized accounts from negatively impacting your credit history, helping you preserve your creditworthiness.

However, while a credit freeze is a powerful protective measure, there are steps you can take to catch identity theft in its earliest stages. One such step is enrolling in an identity monitoring service like FreeKick, which can ongoingly overlook your credit profile and alert you to any suspicious activity, such as new account openings or changes in your credit report. This proactive approach can help you detect and address identity theft much earlier, potentially minimizing the damage to your credit and financial stability.

Protect Your Family From the Risks of Identity Fraud With FreeKick (Coming Soon)

FreeKick, created by Austin Capital Bank, offers premium ID monitoring, protection, and recovery services to ensure your personal information and that of your family members are secure. In addition to two parents, FreeKick’s comprehensive plans also cover six children between the ages of 0 and 25—this will give you extra peace of mind, considering that a child’s identity is stolen every 30 seconds.

Identity Protection Services

FreeKick has a wide range of features designed to monitor and protect both adults and minor children from identity fraud:

Services for Adult Children and ParentsServices for Minor Children
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for children’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address

Parent-Sponsored Credit Building and Credit Profile Monitoring

Besides ID monitoring, FreeKick offers an automated credit building feature to help improve the creditworthiness of your child from an early age. One of the benefits of building your child’s credit score early is that you can potentially save them over $200,000 throughout their lifetime.

FreeKick makes the process easy—you can activate credit building in your account dashboard without complications once your child reaches the age of 13. Once they turn 18 (19 in Alabama), your child can activate credit reporting to have their credit history reported to all three major consumer credit bureaus.

Here’s how to get started with FreeKick:

  1. Create a FreeKick Account—Go to FreeKick.bank to register and choose a plan that suits your family’s needs and budget
  2. Set It and Forget It—After creating an account and activating credit building, FreeKick creates a 12-month credit history for your child via a no-interest installment loan and continues to monitor their credit profile
  3. Keep Growing—After the 12-month term, you can renew your account and continue building your child’s credit score or close it and get a full refund of your initial deposit

FreeKick Pricing

FreeKick’s pricing plans are affordable to meet all budgets. Both plans are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 and offer credit building for six children aged 13–25 in addition to ID protection. Take a closer look at the plans:

FDIC-Insured DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)
$1$149

Secure the identities of your whole family while establishing a strong financial foundation for your children—sign up for FreeKick today.