My Identity Has Been Stolen. Now What?
How you protect yourself from identity theft is important. But just as important is how you respond once you suspect your identity has been stolen. Recovering your identity and restoring your financial well-being is stressful and time consuming, and many people who try to do it on their own give up without ever achieving recovery.
Issues can continue to surface and go on for months, or even years. But, Mutual Security Credit Union is here to help. Our Enhanced and Elevated Checking include nxg|PROTECT with Fully Managed Identity Theft Recovery which gives you access to an Identity Theft Recovery Advocate, your personal assistant on the journey of recovering your identity.
Just knowing when and if you are a victim of identity theft is difficult enough. By having a professional Identity Theft Recovery Advocate standing by for you it means you never have to guess. If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft one phone call can put you in touch with professionals who can help you understand the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft and the steps to take to avoid it. And if fraud is found, an Advocate will be assigned to you as your personal caseworker, to help you manage through the difficult process of recovery, with no time limit. Every year millions of people go through the painful process of recovering their identity. Having a partner that can do the heavy lifting for you can make a huge difference. This is what you can expect when you work with an Advocate.
Step 1: Knowing if you are a Victim of Identity Theft
What if you received a late payment notice in the mail, addressed to you from a retail store's credit department that you don't recognize? What if you get a call from a debt collector about a home equity loan against your house that you did not apply for? What if you get a notice from your state's public housing authority saying you must vacate your home based on job income that was reported to the IRS ... and you are totally disabled and you don't have a job? These are all real life situations where the help of a professional Recovery Advocate made all the difference. The first goal of an Identity Theft Recovery Advocate is to help you learn if you are a victim of identity theft.
Step 2: Determining the Extent of Fraud
Sometimes what we see on the surface is just the tip of the iceberg. Your assigned Recovery Advocate's second job is to help you uncover any additional fraudulent activity that may be lurking unseen. This starts with a review of data from all three credit reporting agencies; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This review can uncover suspicious lines of credit, name and address changes, and recent activity that may have compromised your personal information or your usernames and passwords on the Dark Web. Your Recovery Advocate will also help you activate credit and dark web monitoring to alert you to any new activity that may occur while the case is in progress, and beyond.
Step 3: Stopping the Damage
It is important to know the extent of the problem as quickly as possible and take immediate steps to try to stop the damage from continuing. Your Recovery Advocate will guide you through the process and may suggest that you place fraud alerts at the three major credit bureau while the investigation and remediation process begins. Or, if your case involves only one point of fraud, your Recovery Advocate may ask you to join a three-way phone call with the financial institution or creditor involved to resolve the issue immediately. Don't worry, your assigned Advocate will be available to help you all along the way.
If you have a more complicated case, perhaps with multiple incidents of fraud, your Recovery Advocate will send out a fraud packet that will include documentation and forms that you need to sign to establish your rights as a victim of identity theft. This packet will also include a Limited Power of Attorney form, which allows the Advocate to work on your behalf to perform the legwork necessary to dispute the fraud. This means you now have the power of a professional working for you, with no time limit, all at no cost to you. In many cases, you will also need to file a report with your local police department. Your Recovery Advocate will provide you with instructions and will help if you have any questions or concerns throughout this process.
Step 4: Disputing Fraud and Recovering your Good Name
With the documentation and police report completed your Recovery Advocate can now file disputes with creditors, government agencies and other entities to ask that fraudulent transactions in your name be reversed. If the fraudulent activity created records that might adversely affect your credit score, your government benefits or your ability to access other services now or in the future your Recovery Advocate will assist you in asking that those records be erased from your file, whenever possible.
Testimonials from Victims of Identity Theft
If you are lucky enough to have never experienced identity theft you may not realize how much impact it can have on your life. Here, in their own words, are testimonials from account holders who have been through the recovery process and what it means to them to have Fully Managed Identity Theft Recovery services.
“I am so happy that my Recovery Advocate and the Recovery Team were able to get this problem resolved. I did not know some of the steps that I had to take and with this help, it was resolved. I feel like a 1,000 lb. has been lifted off my 110 lb. body and it was unbearable. Just getting the ball rolling with my advocate and the team helped me more than I could tell you. Thank you so very much.” -- Norma R.
“First and foremost, I would like to say that since my information was compromised, my Recovery Advocate from your team has been the MOST knowledgeable of ALL the people I have spoken to. She has always been there providing the answers and assurances I need to feel that level of certainty. Thank you for everything.” -- Gene H.
Sometimes, the extent of identity theft isn’t fully realized by the average consumer. With the resources of an Identity Theft Recovery Advocate, you have an ally to help you navigate the confusing world of identity fraud. Mutual Security Credit Union provides Fully Managed Identity Theft Recovery to give you access to this resource and help you both detect and recover from identity theft. You don’t have to do it alone.