Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide. Many people do not know where to turn for help when they become a victim. A private investigation agency works with law enforcement to locate the criminal responsible and expedite the restoration of the victim’s credit rating. Without assistance, a victim could spend years trying to salvage their credit and reputation after having their identity stolen.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Chances are, someone you know has been or will be a victim in the future. This crime takes many forms and may go undetected for some time until the credit card company or a debt collector notifies the victim. By that time, your credit score and your reputation may be ruined. Some victims must spend many years and large amounts of money trying to clear their name and repair the damage.
Identity theft begins when a criminal unlawfully uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information to secure assets for himself. Accomplished identity thieves are skilled at obtaining your information without your knowledge. Listed below are some tips to avoid being a victim:
- Shred all financial documents, bank and credit statements, and credit card offers before disposal
- Do not carry extra credit cards and cancel any unused cards
- Never give out your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account number to people over the phone
- Monitor your credit report
- Keep your wallet in safe place and report immediately if stolen
- Read all credit card and bank statements each month to look for strange activity
- Enroll in a credit monitoring service
Once you realize that your identity has been stolen, you must take immediate action. File a report with local law enforcement first. Once this has been done, enlist the help of a private investigation firm. An investigator can help determine to what extent your credit and identity have been compromised, assist you in notifying credit bureaus with fraud alerts, and deal with debt collectors. He will then work to track down the culprit and turn him over to law enforcement.
Victims of identity theft often have to take a proactive approach to rectify problems that arise as the result of someone’s criminal activity. It is comforting to know that a private investigator is a powerful ally should you need one.
Graves Investigations of Greensboro, NC helps identity theft victims around the entire southeast. Contact us at 1-877-638-8254 for a free consultation.