How do I recover my stolen identity?

Asked by: Dr. Merritt Kreiger III  |  Last update: February 9, 2022
Score: 4.8/5 (35 votes)

How To Recover From Identity Theft
  1. Step One: Take Inventory of the Damage. ...
  2. Step Two: Freeze Your Credit Reports and Place Fraud Alerts. ...
  3. Step Three: Contact the Companies Involved. ...
  4. Step Four: Fix Your Credit. ...
  5. Step Five: Monitor Your Credit Reports.

Can you ever recover from identity theft?

On average, it can take 100 to 200 hours over six months to undo identity theft. The recovery process may involve working with the three major credit bureaus to request a fraud alert; reviewing your credit reports to pinpoint fraudulent activity; and reporting the theft.

What do I do if someone stole my identity?

Report identity (ID) theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. The FTC will collect the details of your situation.

How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or go to: To order a copy of your Social Security Administration earnings and benefits statement, or to check whether someone has used your Social Security number to get a job or to avoid paying taxes, visit

How do I check to see if someone is using my Social Security number?

If you believe someone is using your Social Security number to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes, contact the IRS online or call 1-800-908-4490. You can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

Four Steps to Fixing Identity Theft

37 related questions found

Can you put a freeze on your Social Security number?

Freezing Your Social Security Number

First, you'll need to create an account on E-Verify, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once you do, follow the prompts to freeze your SSN. Then, file a police report. Immediately after freezing, contact the authorities.

What happens if someone uses your Social Security number to file taxes?

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.

How can you check to see if your identity has been stolen?

The FTC's fraud reporting website,, is where you'll find detailed instructions on dealing with various forms of identity theft. To be safe, you'll also want to review your credit report for any information that's appearing as a result of fraud.

What are the first signs of identity theft?

9 warning signs of identity theft
  • Your bank statement doesn't look right or your checks bounce. ...
  • You see unfamiliar and unauthorized activity on your credit card or credit report. ...
  • Your bills are missing or you receive unfamiliar bills. ...
  • Your cellphone or another utility loses service.

Do Police Investigate identity theft?

The short answer to this question is no. Identity theft usually involves numerous jurisdictions, and the matter is further complicated if the internet has been used in any way to commit the crime. Due to this very nature of identity theft, it is very difficult to investigate.

What are the four types of identity theft?

4 Types of Identity Theft and How to Avoid Them
  • New account identity theft. ...
  • Tax identity theft. ...
  • Medical identity theft. ...
  • Employment identity theft. ...
  • How to prevent identity theft. ...
  • What to do if you've been victimized.

Does identity theft ruin your life?

But the real consequences of identity theft range from annoying to life-shattering. Sure, you might have to replace a credit card, or all your cards. But you also might find yourself fighting to prove that you don't deserve jail time. Furthermore, the pandemic has made life even worse for identity theft victims.

What is the most common method used to steal your identity?

The most common way an identity thief can acquire information from a person is from stealing their purse or wallet and an identity thief may take a person's personal information from the internet.

What are three things you can do to protect your identity?

The Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Identity
  1. Use this checklist to protect yourself from identity theft.
  2. 1: Keep your mail safe.
  3. 2: Read your account statements.
  4. 3: Check your credit reports.
  5. 4: Shred!
  6. 5: Store personal documents at home.
  7. 6: Be wary of unknown phone calls and emails.
  8. 7: Create difficult logins and passwords.

What are 3 steps you can realistically see yourself taking to help protect against identity theft?

Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
  • Password-Protect Your Devices. ...
  • Use a Password Manager. ...
  • Watch Out for Phishing Attempts. ...
  • Never Give Out Personal Information Over the Phone. ...
  • Regularly Check Your Credit Reports. ...
  • Protect Your Personal Documents. ...
  • Limit Your Exposure.

What are the three steps you should take if you suspect your personal information has been stolen?

What to do if your identity is stolen
  • Contact the companies and banks where you know identity fraud occurred. ...
  • Contact the credit reporting agencies and place fraud alerts. ...
  • Ask for copies of your credit reports. ...
  • Place a security freeze on your credit report.

Can someone steal your identity with just your name?

This is commonly referred to as personally identifiable information, or PII. When such information is linked to your name, it gives the thief easy access to your identity. Armed with just your name and your Social Security number, a thief can not only access your accounts but also obtain credit in your name.

How do I find out if my taxes have been filed by someone else?

Contact the IRS at ​1-800-829-0433​ if you think someone has filed your taxes without your permission. Contacting the IRS and inquiring about the status of your tax return is the best way to determine whether a return has been filed without your consent.

How do I contact the IRS about identity theft?

If you did not receive an IRS notice but believe you've been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 right away so we can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN. Also, fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039 PDF.

Can someone use your Social Security number with a different name?

Identity thieves can use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name. Then, when they use the credit cards and don't pay the bills, it damages your credit. ... Someone illegally using your Social Security number and assuming your identity can cause a lot of problems.

How do I lock my SSN?

This is done by calling our National 800 number (Toll Free 1-800-772-1213 or at our TTY number at 1-800-325-0778). Once requested, any automated telephone and electronic access to your Social Security record is blocked.

How do I check to see if someone is using my Social Security number for free?

To check to see if someone is using your SSN, consider checking your credit report. You can do this online through, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can also use the Annual Credit Report phone number (1-877-322-8228) to request your credit report.

What can someone do with your SSN and ID?

5 things someone can do with a stolen Social Security number
  • Open new accounts. If someone has your SSN, they can open new accounts in your name. ...
  • File fraudulent tax returns. Your Social Security number is also used to file your taxes in most cases. ...
  • Obtain medical care. ...
  • Steal your benefits. ...
  • Commit crimes.

What do hackers do with stolen information?

Your info could be used to open credit cards or take out loans. If hackers have your Social Security number, name, birthdate and address, they can open credit cards or apply for loans in your name.

What are the 5 most common types of identity theft?

Here are five common types of identity theft to help you stay one step ahead of hackers.
  • Financial identity theft.
  • Medical identity theft.
  • Criminal identity theft.
  • Synthetic identity theft.
  • Child identity theft.