Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It’s a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve.
What to do
If you are a victim of identity theft and have created an Identity Theft Report, you may want to place an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit file. There are important differences between these two options:
- A freeze generally stops all access to your credit report, while a fraud alert permits creditors to get your report as long as they take steps to verify your identity.
- The availability of a credit freeze depends on state law or a consumer reporting company’s policies; fraud alerts are federal rights intended for people who believe they are, or who actually have been, identity theft victims.