Identity theft is more common than you might think. You may feel it could never happen to you, but there is a good chance cyber criminals will use your personal information to commit online fraud. Around 40% of consumers worldwide have fallen victim to identity theft, according to consumer credit reporting companies.
In the case of identity theft, it’s vital to act quickly and report the crime to your local authorities. Reporting mechanisms may vary for each country. For example, Identity theft in the U.S. can be reported on the Federal Trade Commission website (FTC). Different European states provide separate email addresses or website services where you can lodge a complaint. A list of Identity theft reporting portals is listed on Europol’s webpage.
When filing out your complaint, authorities recommend you gather as much information as possible including credit card receipts, social media messages, phone bills, printed or electronic copies of web pages and other evidence. The FBI has also set up an easy way for victims to report Identity-theft crimes on the Crime Complaint Center platform.
Specific types of identity theft should be reported to other organizations as well. If you are a victim of credit or tax fraud, you also need to inform your bank or the IRS.
If your medical insurance or other medical-related services have been compromised, your health insurer also needs to be notified. If your personal identifiable information (name, photos, phone number etc.) is used to create fake accounts on social media, you will also need to report the case to the service provider. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are some of the more popular social media platforms that take action against fraudulent accounts.
Identity theft can’t always be avoided, but you can protect yourself and your family in various ways. You can read more about how to prevent identity theft here.