Dealing with the Damage: Steps to Take if You Fall Victim to Identity Theft

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Identity theft can have psychological, emotional and physical consequences. Victims and their families spend months and sometimes years trying to undo the damage and reclaim their good name. Many victims of identity theft are targeted repeatedly, because stolen personally identifying information is often traded within a vast web of criminals operating nationally and internationally. The impact and costs to victims in terms of out-of-pocket expenses, time spent and emotional effects are significantly smaller when the fraud is discovered early.

The information below walks you through the process of regaining your identity in good standing. In addition to these resources, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program provides direct assistance and guidance to victims in addressing the consequences of this crime.

Basic Response Steps
Follow these strategies if you discover that you have fallen victim to identity theft.

Keeping Track of Your Steps
It is important to keep a record of the steps you take in responding to identity theft if you or a deceased loved one is a victim of this crime.

Special Populations Response
Dealing with the consequences of identity theft is different for some populations, such as active military personnel and victims of domestic violence.

Data Security Breach and Identity Theft
Data security breaches compromise the privacy of your personally identifying information and increase the likelihood of identity theft. Consumers should be aware of the precautions they should take if their information is part of a data security breach.