Identity theft word cloud shape conceptYou get a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chastising you for not claiming income you know you’ve never earned. You get a letter indicating your wages will be garnished for back child support . . . yet you don’t know the woman who claims you’ve fathered a child. You apply for your first job out of college, only to be told you falsified your application:  records indicate you have a felony record.

How can “you” and “you” be so out of sync?  The simple answer is identity theft.  Someone has been using your social security number – and maybe your name and other personal information – to impersonate you for years.  And now that the wrongdoing has come to light, you have years of damage to undo.

To help you through the process, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched, a new resource that makes it easier for identity theft victims to report and recover from identity theft. The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks you through the recovery process and helps you understand which recovery steps you should take if your identity is stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources.

In addition, the site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft. The site also has advice if you’ve been notified that your personal information has been exposed in a data breach.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.

INB is here to help as well.  As soon as you’re aware that someone has stolen your identity, call your banker at 217-747-5500 or 1-877-771-2316. We’ll help you take the steps you need to secure the money you’ve entrusted with us.