At Kosciusko Connect, we strive to keep our customers informed about topics like our lightning-fast fiber internet, unique features available to Kosciusko County consumers, advancements in technology, and general cybersecurity. Nowadays, digital security is on everyone’s mind, and for good reason. According to the National Council on Identity Theft Protection, they received over 5.7 million reports of identity theft and fraud in 2022. Unfortunately, identity theft is a growing issue.
Discovering your identity has been stolen can be a daunting experience. The best way to prepare for the distress of being a victim of identity theft is to know the necessary steps to regain control and protect yourself. Here is some practical advice on what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Remember, knowledge is power, and taking swift action is crucial when it comes to identity theft.
The moment you suspect or confirm that your identity has been stolen, it's essential to take immediate action. Start by contacting your local law enforcement agency to file a report. This step creates an official record of the incident, which can be useful for future reference and while dealing with financial institutions or credit bureaus.
Contact your bank, credit card companies, and any other financial institutions where you hold accounts. Inform them about the identity theft and ask them to freeze or close the affected accounts. They can also guide you on the next steps to secure your finances, such as changing passwords, issuing new cards, or setting up additional security measures.
Reach out to one of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion—and request a fraud alert to be placed on your credit file. This alert notifies potential lenders to take extra precautions when approving credit applications in your name. Additionally, obtain free copies of your credit reports from all three bureaus to review and look for any suspicious activity or accounts that you didn't open.
As a precautionary measure, change the passwords for all your online accounts, including email, social media, and financial platforms. Ensure that your new passwords are strong, unique, and not easily guessable. Consider using a reliable password manager to help you create and store complex passwords securely.
Keep a close eye on your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial accounts for any unauthorized transactions. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it to the respective institution immediately. Regularly reviewing your accounts will help you catch fraudulent activities at an early stage.
If you believe your identity theft situation requires additional protection, you may choose to implement a credit freeze. This restricts access to your credit reports, making it difficult for fraudsters to open new accounts in your name. Alternatively, you can request an extension to the initial fraud alert you placed on your credit file to provide continued protection.
Identity theft is an ongoing threat, and staying informed is key to preventing future incidents. Educate yourself about common phishing techniques, online scams, and best practices for protecting your personal information. Be cautious while sharing sensitive details online or over the phone, and regularly update your devices and software to stay ahead of potential security vulnerabilities.
Let’s be honest. Experiencing identity theft can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone, and there are steps you can take to regain control and recover your security and peace of mind. By acting swiftly, reporting the incident, notifying financial institutions, and implementing security measures, you can mitigate the impact and protect yourself from further harm. Stay proactive, stay informed, and keep a watchful eye on your accounts. Furthermore, consider Guardian as a powerful tool to prevent cybersecurity issues. Learn more about Kosciusko Connect’s Guardian here: