If you have had your identity stolen is it of utmost importance that you act quickly. You don't want the identity thief spending all your hard earned money and put you further in to debt! Act as soon as you suspect something is wrong.
It is important that you call your bank straight away if you suspect a theft has occurred. If you do not report the fraud quickly you may become liable for funds spent in your name.
You only have sixty days from when you receive your bank statement or credit card statement to contest any discrepancies you find. If you leave it longer than the sixty day time period, you are probably going to be held liable for the charges. But sixty days is too long to wait, so do it straight away!
Imagine this scenario. You get home from a days shopping and suddenly realize your credit card is missing. You call the retailer where you used the card last and see if they have it there – they do! Fantastic you don't have to worry about canceling your card and you tell them you will pick the card up tomorrow. But you should be worried. It is quite possible that the retailer or one of their staff may be an identity thief and in the 24 hours you take to collect your card, they will not only have gathered all the information they need to run up huge bills in your name, but also to find out other personal information, enabling them to create false ID cards etc. You will not find out about their spending spree until you get your next statement and by that time there may be another 'you' in full circulation. If you can't find your credit card cancel it immediately! Don't take any chances.
If you realize your credit card has been stolen, you must contact the creditor and close the account as soon as possible. The same goes for your check book if it is missing. If you act quickly, at most you will only be liable for the first $50 of the funds spent illegally in your name. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to stop the theft from escalating.
Contacting the credit bureaus to flag your account as one that has been a victim of identity theft will put a stop to anyone trying to open a new account in your name. This is just as important as putting a stop on your existing accounts. The alert will be activated within 24 hours on your credit file and your name will be taken off pre-approved insurance and credit offers for two years.
Taking action to regain your identity immediately goes a long way in supporting your claim that you are a legitimate victim, not just someone who is trying to get out of paying their bills. So do yourself a favor, take action now!