Guest Sign UpLoginNew PostSections ₦0What's Up?DownloadsShopChatToolsAdvertise
Join the Publishers' Program. Get paid for writing.
Recharge DSTV, GOTV, StarTimes, & PREPAID METERS on

Mr A

Recognizing the Signs of Identity Theft

Identity theft can happen to anyone, and it's critical to recognize the signs early on to minimize the damage. Common indicators of identity theft include:

  • Unexplained bank account withdrawals.
  • Bills or statements for services you never used.
  • Receiving unfamiliar credit cards or loan information.
  • Your credit report showing accounts you didn't open or unauthorized inquiries.
  • Not receiving utility bills or other important mail.
  • Being contacted by debt collectors about debts you never incurred.

1. Secure Your Personal Information

When you suspect identity theft, your first priority should be securing your personal and financial information. This may help prevent further damage to your financial standing.

Change passwords and security questions: Review all your accounts and change the login credentials, especially for those linked to financial transactions. Be sure to use strong, unique passwords that don't rely on easily guessed or gathered personal details. Also, update the security questions and answers associated with your accounts.

Monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your financial accounts and transactions. Set up alerts with your bank and credit card companies to notify you of large or unusual transactions.

2. Report the Identity Theft

When you've discovered you're a victim of identity theft, you must take action immediately to report it. Here's a step-by-step guide to reporting identity theft to various authorities:

Local Law Enforcement: File a report with your local police station as soon as possible. Provide them with all the necessary details and evidence of the theft. Ask for a copy of the police report.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Report the identity theft to the FTC at The FTC is the government body responsible for handling identity theft issues and provides a personalized recovery plan. You'll get an Identity Theft Report that will help you in the recovery process.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): If you suspect your identity theft involves tax fraud, notify the IRS immediately. You may need to complete an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) and submit it to the IRS.

Your State Attorney General's Office: Most states have their own resources dedicated to identity theft recovery. Contact your state's Attorney General's office and follow their required procedures.

3. Reach Out to Affected Institutions

As a victim of identity theft, you need to inform the relevant financial institutions and businesses about the issue. This includes your bank, credit card issuers, utility companies, and any entities involved in loans or lines of credit.

Freeze your credit: Contact the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—and request a credit freeze. This prevents any potential creditors from accessing your credit report and opening new accounts in your name.

Close accounts that have been tampered with: Contact the relevant financial institutions and inform them of the identity theft. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Request fraud alerts: Notify your financial institutions and credit bureaus to add a fraud alert to your account. A fraud alert will prompt lenders to take additional precautions when extending credit in your name.

4. Review Your Credit Reports

After you've taken the necessary steps to report the theft and secure your accounts, the next step is to review your credit reports. Obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus through

Look for anomalies: Review the reports thoroughly for any unauthorized inquiries, accounts, or discrepancies. Make a note of any suspicious activity or information that needs to be corrected.

Dispute errors: Contact the relevant credit bureaus if you notice any errors or fraudulent accounts. Submit a written dispute with your Identity Theft Report or police report and any supporting documentation to have the inaccuracies removed.

5. Create a Recovery Plan

Having a clear recovery plan can help you systematically address the aftermath of identity theft. Your plan should include:

  • Monitoring credit reports and financial accounts to identify any unauthorized activity.
  • Scheduling periodic check-ins with affected institutions to ensure that disputed items and errors have been resolved.
  • Using secure methods of communication to avoid future compromise of personal information, such as shredding sensitive documents or using encrypted email.
  • Creating and maintaining strong, unique passwords for all online accounts.
  • Staying informed about the latest scams and security best practices.

6. Follow Up with Credit Bureaus and Institutions

As your recovery progresses, continue to communicate with relevant parties:

  • Keep track of your correspondence with credit bureaus, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies.
  • Check your credit reports regularly to ensure that errors have been corrected and fraudulent activity has ceased.
  • Follow up on any pending disputes and make sure they've been resolved.
  • Maintain a detailed record of your recovery efforts, including the names and contact information for the representatives you communicate with.

7. Consider Identity Theft Protection Services

Identity theft protection services can provide additional layers of security for your sensitive information:

  • Credit monitoring: Monitors activity on your credit reports and sends alerts in case of suspicious activity.
  • Identity monitoring: Scans the internet, public records, and other sources to detect potential misuse of your personal information.
  • Identity restoration: Helps you through the recovery process and, in some cases, provides financial assistance and insurance.
  • Dark web scanning: Searches hidden corners of the internet for your stolen information and alerts you if your personal data is being traded or misused.


Being a victim of identity theft can be a distressing and frustrating experience, but prompt action and sound planning can minimize the impact and prevent future occurrences. Follow the steps outlined above and take necessary precautions to protect your personal and financial information. Stay vigilant and proactive in monitoring your accounts, and consider investing in identity theft protection services for peace of mind.

Follow @JalingoHQ on twitter.

Related Topics

Top SectionsSee More

This forum does not have any topics.

Top Posters This Month (500 Credits)
(See More)