Identity theft word cloud shape conceptThe Federal Trade Commission’s website,, provides a comprehensive, step-by-step process to follow if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. Best yet, you can complete each step online.

The site is broken into three sections and accompanying steps:

What to do right away
• Call the companies where you know fraud occurred.
• Place a fraud alert and get your credit report.
• Report identity theft to the FTC.
• File a report with your local police department.

What to do next
• Take a deep breath and begin to repair the damage.
• Close new accounts opened in your name.
• Remove bogus charges from your accounts.
• Correct your credit report.
• Consider adding an extended fraud alert or credit freeze.

Depending on your situation, you might need to take additional steps.
• Resolve tax-related identity theft.
• Report a misused Social Security number.
• Stop debt collectors from trying to collect debts you don’t owe
• Replace government-issued IDs.
• Resolve child identity theft.
• Resolve medical identity theft.
• Clear your name of criminal charges.

For certain types of accounts, you might have to contact additional offices.
• Utilities
• Checking account
• Student loans
• Investment accounts
• Bankruptcy filed in your name

Identity theft is never fun.  Recovering is made easier thanks to this plan from the federal government.