This is what can happen as a result of identity theft.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, according to the Social Security Administration. It happens when someone uses identifying information such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. According to the Federal Trade Commission, as many as nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
The complicated mess that results from identity theft can take months or longer to clean up. And for some people, the damage to their credit is never completely repaired.
How do you prevent identity theft? Be vigilant—and err on the side of caution. Consider these suggestions:
Reporting identity theft
As soon as you know your identity has been stolen, call one of the three major credit reporting agencies mentioned before. The agencies will flag your account so any business that wants to view your credit report must first verify your identity.
Also, contact your local police department. You’ll need a police report to pursue your case with creditors who've been victimized in your name. Be sure to give the police copies of all the documents that support your claim.
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