Reporting Identity Theft Isn’t As Difficult As You May Think
(RepublicanReport.org) – In an age when people routinely manage and transfer important personal data over the internet, there are endless possibilities for scammers to profit from identity theft. The consequences of this kind of crime for victims can be very severe indeed. If an identity thief goes after you, there are a few different actions that should be considered.
Reporting Fraud to the Social Security Administration (SSA)
Once you discover you’ve been a victim of identity theft or another similar offense, the first stop should be the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA works with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to combat cases of fraud in the US, so it’s important that you make them aware of any potential violations. Visit the OIG website to file a complaint online or call the agency’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
It’s very important to remember that the more information provided to the OIG, the better equipped it will be to track down the person who targeted your identity. In terms of personal data, you’ll need to share your own name, address, contact number, date of birth and Social Security number. If you know any of the alleged suspect’s personal details, share those too.
You should also try to be as comprehensive as possible when reporting the act of fraud itself. Be descriptive when sharing details of what happened, and make sure to remember the time and location of the act. If other parties are aware of what happened, mention this as well.
The OIG will act on any identity theft allegation it deems worthy of pursuing. However, the agency will not update you as to the specific action it takes in relation to your complaint.
Other Agencies to Alert
The SSA is probably the first group you should notify of an identity fraud offense, but it’s by no means the last.
If the person who stole or attempted to steal your data is known, file a report at the local police station. You should also take this step when an identity thief gives your name to the police instead of their own, or when a third party (such as for example, a credit card company) requires you to make a police report.
Most banks allow account holders to turn off access to checking or credit accounts simply by going online and clicking the appropriate box. If you’re unsure of the extent of the fraud, turn off access to all your accounts immediately.
If you have Medicare and a criminal targets your medical identity, file a report with Medicare directly. Similarly, any attempt made on your tax identity should be reported to the IRS, and any identity theft targeting your unemployment benefits should be reported to the labor department in your state.
Remember, in all cases, it’s easier to prevent identity theft than fix or reverse it.
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