After it happens, react quickly and it could save you money.
The Kentucky Attorney General's Office will provide you a free kit to help resolve the identity theft. To receive a copy call 1-800-804-7556.
Here are some tips from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on how to reclaim a stolen identity:
When the theft is discovered immediately call the bank and credit card company to report the problem. Close old accounts and open new ones. Use different personal identification numbers. Your birth date and portions of your Social Security number, telephone number or street address are poor choices.
File a report with the local police department. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) TTY: 1-866-653-4261. It would seem that this would solve the problem, but it doesn't. Realize that it may take months to fully get the problem straightened out.
Contact the three credit bureaus and have them flag your file as a possible fraud victim: Trans Union, 1-800-680-7289; Equifax, 1-800-525-6285 and Experian: 1-888-397-3742
If you receive letters saying that a check or charge was not paid, contact the company and provide them with a copy of your police report.
The best way to combat identity theft is to take preventive measures.
Limit the amount of confidential information in your wallet or purse. Do not carry bank account numbers, personal identification numbers, passports, birth certificates, and, most importantly, Social Security cards.
Don't carry more bank checks than you need. Thieves can cash the checks, but can also use the sensitive information on the checks, such as an address, bank account number or social security number. Do not put your driver's license number or social security number on your check. The information can make it easy for a thief to apply for a loan, credit card or bank account.
Consider canceling credit cards you don't need or use. Keep backup information, like phone numbers to report losses, and credit card and bank account numbers, in a safe place.
Never give out personal information to anyone over the telephone unless you initiate the call, and it's to a well-known place.
Shred credit card applications and other mail with sensitive information.
Police Chief Jimmy Gipson said that merchants and retailers can do their customers a favor by requiring identification before cashing or accepting a check, and by not accepting checks that have been altered in any way.