What to Do When Someone Steals Your Identity Online? – 8 Expert Tips

The convenience and benefit of doing so much online these days, unfortunately, come with some risks. The crime of stealing identities online is becoming more frequent, and it can happen to anyone. Educate yourself and be prepared for such an eventuality so it causes the least amount of problems should you become a victim.  

Online Identity Theft – Shocking Facts

Having a realistic view of this type of crime may help inspire more caution, but also help you understand how vital it is to have a plan in place. These facts and stats paint a clear picture of the risk:

  • By 2029, the industry aimed at protecting people from identity fraud could grow to $28 billion. 
  • In the US, the victims of identity fraud have lost as much as $10.2 billion in just one year.
  • The average loss of identity fraud victims is around $500, but this amount tends to increase over time. 
  • From one year to the next, the total number of identity theft reports in the US can rise as much as 1 million. 

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by what society is facing, let’s empower you to take control, even if something goes wrong.  

Steps to Take if Your Identity is Stolen

Information is power, so do as much as you can, from reading Aura reviews and articles on other identity theft protection solutions to changing your online habits. But when you realize that a cyber criminal did get to your personal data, simply follow these steps. 

Change Passwords

Much of online identity theft may relate to accounts, such as your banking profile or Gmail account. Prevent access to these by resetting your passwords and making them stronger this time round. The more complex it is, the less likely it becomes that cybercriminals will hack it.

Report the Case

Make it known that identity theft took place by reporting it to the relevant institutions. This ranges from opening a case with the police to talking to appropriate agencies that specifically deal with identity theft cases. Most countries have these entities, and they may have easy processes to report a case, such as dialing a dedicated phone number or simply logging a case on their website. 

Identify Where the Threat Came from

Try to determine how the breach came about. It could have been an email phishing scam, a data leak of a vendor where you have an account, or someone using information they found on documents you discarded. Knowing how it happened will help you determine what type of help you need to remedy the situation and prevent it from happening again.

Start a Paper Trail

If someone is using your identity for fraud, you may need to prove to vendors that it wasn’t you. For example, for credit card fraud, you’ll need to show it wasn’t you making purchases. Compile proof of all your communication with the police and other role players so you can easily prove your innocence.

Talk to Your Bank

If it’s your credit card details that are being used without your permission, your bank needs to know. Close the account, so you can prevent any further transactions, or at least freeze it until you’re sure that passwords are changed and no one else can use it.

Contact Creditors and Vendors

The fraud could include criminals opening accounts in your name. You can usually see details of such vendors and institutions if you request a detailed credit report. Inform them that it was done unlawfully and get written proof that any fraudulent charges have been dropped, so it won’t affect your credit report.

Manage Your Credit Report

The long-term effect of identity theft is that it could ruin your credit report. Luckily, by following some of the steps above you can once again have good credit. 

Also, ask about fraud alerts that can be added to your credit report. This will require anyone who wants to open an account to first contact you personally, so you’ll have an additional barrier against online identity theft going forward.

Implement Proactive Measures

You don’t want this happening again, so safeguard yourself by initiating appropriate safety measures. Base your plans on the type of threat you face. For example, if you realize your information was stolen via malware, it may be time to update your software or educate yourself about cyber security. 

Final Thoughts

Realizing you’re a victim of crime will probably make you break out in a cold sweat, but don’t let it overwhelm you. With the prevalence of cybercrime and online identity theft, banks and governments have various resources in place to help you manage the situation. Use these tips to regain control and limit the damage.


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