Although credit card microchips have curtailed counterfeiting, thieves have become focused on opening new accounts with stolen information. More then $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million American consumers in 2016. Identity thieves have stolen more then $107 billion since 2010. If you learn your information has been compromised, here are some steps to take to regain control of your information. In every situation, you'll want to continue to check your credit report and report any additional unauthorized activity.
If your debit or credit card number has been stolen:
- Contact your bank or credit card company to cancel your card and get a new one.
- Review all of your transactions and call the fraud department if you notice fraudulent charges.
- Update your automatic payments with the new card number as soon as it arrives.
If your bank account information has been stolen:
- Contact your bank to close your account and open a new one.
- Review your transactions and contact the fraud department to report false charge.
- Update automatic payments with your new information.
If your driver's license information has been stolen:
- Contact the DMV and report your license as stolen. The state may then flag the number in case someone tries to use it.
How thieves have used stolen information....
34% employment or tax-related fraud 11.8% Bank fraud, involving checking, savings, other deposit accounts, debit cards, and electronic
29.9% Tax fraud fund transfers
32.7% credit card fraud 6.8% loan or lease fraud
25.6% new accounts 6.6% government documents or benefits fraud
16% other identity theft
13.1% phone or utilities fraud
What if your child's information has been stolen?
Thieves may be able to get a hold of your child's personal information. Unfortunately, you may not become aware of a compromise until they try to find employment, rent an apartment or get a loan for school or a car.
- Check with each credit bureau to see if they have a credit report. If your child is about to turn 16, you may want to do this, even if you don't suspect identity has been stolen. If they have a credit report, request a copy and use the information they provide to remove all fraudulent activity. You may also ask each of the credit reporting companies to do a manual search of the child's file.
- Request a credit freeze for your child, if your state allows it. Go to the websites of each credit bureau for instructions.
- Send letters requesting the companies remove all accounts, inquires and collections notices in your child's name or information. Be sure to include a copy of the Uniform Minor's Status Declaration available on the Federal Trade Commission's website.
- Contact the businesses where your child's information was used.
- Limit who has access to your child's personal information. Read the notices sent from your child's school pertaining to directories and how your child's information is used. You have the right, under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to opt out of sharing your child's contact and other directory information with third parties.