What to do if your identity is stolen
In real life, there have always been many potential threats to life, health, wallet, etc. As it turns out, having your identity stolen is the worst thing that can happen to you. No one is immune to it. Even if you do everything right and protect your data regularly, you should at least have a clear algorithm in mind in case something as unpleasant as identity theft happens.
Having your identity get into the hands of an attacker can have far-reaching consequences if you don't take immediate action. You should have a well-thought-out plan for the actions you should take as soon as you realize that you've become a victim of identity theft.
As with health, it's always better and easier to take precautions and prevent disaster than to fight a problem when it's already happened.
If you know how identity theft happens, you'll have an idea of how to protect your information in advance. It's also important to separate public and private information about your identity. That way, even if one block of data is hacked, most of your important data will remain inaccessible.
If you are convinced that you have been hacked, and you have even seen some of the damage done to you by crooks and thieves, you should act urgently to prevent further damage, while seeking compensation and justice.
Try to salvage what you have left. Close your bank account immediately. Withdraw all the money you have and block all credit cards. Also, any money you have on sites such as PayPal or Moneybookers should be withdrawn and moved to a safe place.
Download all your personal information onto a USB drive and disconnect it from the Internet.
Finally, change all passwords and keys on sites you use. Start with bank accounts and social media and change them systematically until everyone has a new password. Make sure you do this with a personal VPN and our password security tips.
Contact all relevant authorities. Start with the basics and act as broadly as possible. First, you should contact your bank, your employer, and your local police department. Explain in detail what happened and ask them to notify you of any further attempts to collect or use your information.
You should also contact your friends and family. While the likelihood that they will be directly affected is very small, they may be caught up in the scam using your social media accounts. Friendly emotional support at this point wouldn't hurt either.
Change passwords.Put the money you withdrew from your account into a new bank account, perhaps even at a different bank. If you don't want to part with your old bank, where you have a good credit history and benefits, use a new phone number and change some information, including passwords.
Go to court.When most of your personal information is protected, it's time to hire a knowledgeable attorney. It's best to go to someone who has experience with identity theft lawsuits. Such an attorney will help protect you from most legal consequences.
While it is usually possible to find the abuser who criminally used your personal information and sue them, it may not be possible to make them pay for the damages caused. However, in some countries, such scammers can face up to 12 years in prison.
ConclusionKeeping your composure when your identity is stolen is not easy. But if you handle your data skillfully, you can avoid serious consequences. The sooner you react, the better.