What to do after your identity is stolen

Channel 6 News Reporter Andrew Moore reports.

MCLENNAN COUNTY - Carolyn Harris worked for medical information company EMSI in Dallas before moving to central Texas. The letter she received from EMSI last hear still haunts her. Her W-2 information was stolen.

"It was scary, you kind of feel like you have been violated in a way... for something you didn't do yourself," Harris said. 

Two months after Harris found out EMSI may have leaked her medical information, the IRS contacted her. Someone had filed a tax return in her name, trying to steal her return. It took Harris several days and multiple hours on the phone with the IRS to sort the problem out. There is no guarantee the same thing won't happen next year. 

Better Business Bureau Regional Director Adam Price told Channel 6 there is a way to fight back. The first step is sending out fraud alerts to every bank or financial institution a victim uses as well as all three credit bureaus. 

"When your identity is stolen it can be a tear jerking situation, but also very time consuming in addition to the monetary losses," Price said. "Any time there is access outside of your normal behavior they will contract you." 

The step is a credit freeze. Contact the three credit bureaus  -- Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian -- and file for a freeze. It can however, be very time consuming to un-freeze your account. 

If a crook has your social security number however, things will get even more complicated. There is no guarantee a crook will not try multiple years to steal a return, so Price said filing as fast as possible is a must. 

For more resources on dealing with identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center. 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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