credit cardsBy Daisy Chan
The latest scams to steal your personal information are scarily simple-and effective. Learn how to protect yourself by following the steps below. Photo by: iStock
If your identity is stolen, follow these five steps:
1. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports. You only have to contact one credit bureau (Equifax.com, Experian.com or TransUnion.com). They, in turn, will alert the other two.
Learn how websites trick you into spending more.
2. Get copies of your credit reports. Once you place a fraud alert, you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. Check each report for unauthorized charges.
3. Notify your bank, creditors and utility companies about any affected accounts. Speak to someone in the security or fraud department; follow up in writing.
4. Call 877-IDTHEFT or visit FTC.gov to alert the Federal Trade Commission.
5. File a police report. It will be helpful if creditors want proof of a crime.