ORLANDO, Fla. – If you suspect you're a victim of identity theft or your personal documents were stolen, taking these steps will help you recover and prevent your identity from being used fraudulently.
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
Put a fraud alert on your credit reports with all three credit bureaus. A fraud alert will alert potential creditors or lenders that someone may try to fraudulently use your identity.
• Equifax - Call 866-349-5191 or click here.
• Experian - Call 888-397-3742 or click here.
• TransUnion - Call 800-680-7289 or click here.
2. File a police report
If necessary, alert the police to the theft. As you alert different agencies about your identity theft, you may need to provide a copy of the police report.
[RELATED: To combat identity theft, freeze your credit]
3. Monitor your accounts over the next few years
Check your bank and credit card statements regularly, your annual earnings from the Social Security Administration, your 401(k) account, notices from the IRS regarding your taxes and your credit reports. Look for any suspicious activity or fraudulent transactions.
4. Sign up for a credit monitoring service
Credit monitoring services will alert you when there are major changes in your credit reports.
5. Change your bank account numbers
Alert your bank about the identity theft. If your banking cards or information were stolen, open new accounts.
6. Change all of your passwords
If your online logins or passwords were stolen, change your usernames and passwords. If you use that same password anywhere else, change it at those sites too.
7. Stolen driver's license information
If your driver's license information or documents used to get a Florida ID were stolen, alert the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. You can report suspected criminal activity by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to report fraud directly to the DHSMV Fraud Section or call (850) 617-2405. You may also have a "Verify ID Flag" placed on your driver record that can help prevent people from pretending to be you.
8. Stolen passport
If your passport was stolen, alert the U.S. Department of State immediately. Once your passport is reported stolen, it is invalid and can't be used for international travel. Click here to report a stolen passport.
[READ: Tips on keeping your passwords secure]
9. Stolen social security card
The Social Security Administration does not investigate Social Security card theft. The SSA recommends filing a theft report with your local police department. You can also call 800-772-1213 to request a replacement Social Security card.
10. Sign up for free property fraud monitoring
The Orange County Comptroller's Office offers free property fraud monitoring for property owners which will alert residents to someone who records a fraudulent document in the Official Records. Click here to sign up.