What to do if someone steals your identity

by | Mar/24/2010

A client wrote recently explaining their family’s personal information was on a laptop in their car when the car was stolen. Of course, the laptop was not using full disk encryption, or they would never have called me. What do you do?

First of all, read this short blog post about full disk encryption:

Next, if you haven’t already, notify at least one of these agencies:

I’d suggest you consider signing up with one of them for their monitoring service such as Equifax ID Patrol or Experian ProtectMyID.

The other main step I would take is to log into your banking sites and set up “alerts” that send you a text message or e-mail you DAILY a message of all charges and other activity on the account. Some banks even allow alerts in real time as the activity occurs. That way you can keep a really close eye on things and, if anything looks out of the ordinary, call your bank ASAP.

If you are protecting any of your accounts with a “mother’s maiden name” as a secret word for when you phone in, change that code too—it is too easy to figure out.

The FTC offers even more detailed advice here: