Fraud Prevention Tips from an Identity Theft Victim

Mar 16, 2021Fraud Prevention

This story is told by a real identity theft victim, and recounts the process and steps they took to get their identity back.

“I didn’t have a care in the world. I was with my family, enjoying a perfect summer day at the lake when I got, the call. It was my local bank representative asking if I was in town making a withdrawal. My heart dropped, as I said,“No, why do you ask?” I then found out I was a victim of identity theft, and at that exact moment, I had to begin the process of recovering my identity.

I took these steps in attempt to gain my life back.

I was in for the long haul, but through these steps I’ve been able to regain my personal information and identity back.

  1. Connect with the companies where you know fraud occurred.

    Talk to someone in the fraud department and let them know about the situation. Change account login credentials and place a code word on the account that only you know. If two-factor authentication is an option, do it. It’s one additional step in protecting your account.

  2. Notify local police jurisdiction where the crime took place.

    Sometimes ID Theft is attempted in person. If this does happen in person, notify the local police department so that they are able to start a case number and investigate. Keep track of all information.

  3. Place a fraud alert and freeze your credit with all three major credit bureaus.

    These services are free and can be accomplished through Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Obtain a copy of your credit report with each bureau as well as review all of your information. Reviewing your credit report is a great way to spot any additional identity theft that may be lingering out there.

  4. Report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission.

    Pay a visit to as soon as possible to report the incident with all the details. Doing so will create an identity theft report as well as create a recovery plan for you.

  5. Place a security freeze with ChexSystems.

    Visit to secure the freeze. Taking this step adds a layer of protection to prevent identity thieves from opening a bank account in your name. The reason why? An account opened in your name, that does not belong to you, can be dangerous and detrimental to your credit should negative balances be charged off and sent to collection agencies.

  6. Monitor your credit.

    Find a credit-monitoring tool to help check activity including credit inquiries. Some financial Institutions offer free credit monitoring tools, so start there to see what they have to offer. Regularly check in to see if there are any changes. This will allow you to spot any identity theft activity sooner than later. At HAPO, we offer SavvyMoney directly through your online and mobile banking account. It takes less than five minutes to set up and you’ll be able to track changes to your credit regularly.

  7. Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery Mail service.

    This service allows you to digitally preview images of your mail and allows you to manage packages addressed to you. 

I spent endless nights on the phone with creditors, the police, banks – you name it. I dreaded walking to my mailbox in fear of a credit letter! Not only was my identity stolen, but so was my time – time I could have spent with my family.

It took months, but I finally got my identity back.

I felt relief after about nine months of dealing with this nightmare. The letters stopped coming, the inquiries disappeared, and there were no more phone calls – I could finally breathe. It was over. I was no longer an active victim of identity theft.”






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Fraud Prevention / Real Story / Online Banking / Mobile Banking / Identity Theft / Credit Monitoring / SavvyMoney / Credit Report