It takes an estimated 300 hours to dig your way out of ID theft and reclaim your good credit. But for one Tampa woman the nightmare lasted a decade.
For years Esther Taylor endured the calls and letters from debt collectors. Taylor claims an old roommate stole her Social Security number and used it to take out loans totaling over 100k.
She tried filing a police report but was not sure where else to turn. Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Chief Eric Olsen said victims have to act fast to repair the damage. He advises filing a police report first then a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov to get an affidavit.
An affidavit proves to creditors this isn't someone trying to evade a bad debt. The victims then need to contact the credit bureaus.
Also it is smart to contact each credit bureau and place a fraud alert on your account. It notifies you anytime someone attempts to use your information to apply for a loan or a new credit card.
Taylor learned the hard way an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be sure to limit the amount of personal information you carry in your wallet, safe guard papers at home and shred every unnecessary document that contains anything more than your name.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of identity theft check out identitytheft.gov where you can create a personalized plan to clear your name.