How to file an identity theft claim
Last updated: January 1
If you have an identity theft protection plan*, you've taken a proactive step to help protect your personal information. A protection plan can help safeguard your information and alert you when suspicious activity takes place. But, your identity can still be compromised.
After you suspect fraudulent activity, it's important to notify the provider of your identity protection plan as soon as possible. Becoming familiar with the steps to take before submitting a claim for fund reimbursement can help you be better prepared.
Report identity theft
Below are some steps you may need to take to report identity theft and file an identity theft claim with your plan's provider. However, depending on your plan's coverage, you may have access to a remediation specialist who helps complete some of these steps on your behalf. Be sure to thoroughly review your protection plan details so you know what to expect if you need to file a claim.
- Report the incident to your identity theft protection plan provider: Call your identity protection plan provider as soon as possible to report the incident and determine next steps based on your plan's coverage. Some plans might also reimburse you for expenses related to restoring your identity or for stolen funds. It's a good idea to read your policy documents to understand what's covered. Your provider may also be able to recommend specific phone numbers you can use to get in touch with financial institutions, law enforcement and the FTC, so you don’t have to search for all of those things on your own.
- Call the company where the identity theft occurred: If someone opened a credit card in your name, for example, contact the institution where the account was opened, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Let them know you did not open the account and believe you've been a victim of identity theft. You should also ask them to freeze the account.
- Contact the police: You may need a copy of a police report to complete some identity theft claim steps, says the FTC. When reporting identity theft to your local police department, be sure to ask them for a copy of the report.
- File an identity theft report with the FTC: The FTC says you should file a report because this provides proof to businesses that someone else did steal your identity. You may also need to provide a copy of this report to companies where the fraud occurred, notes the FTC.
Understand your identity protection plan
Remember, it's a good idea to understand what your identity protection plan covers. This will help you determine what steps to take when submitting a claim. While plans vary by company, in general, identity theft protection plans typically offer these services:
- Credit and dark web monitoring: Your plan provider may monitor the use of your personal information and alert you when suspicious activity takes place, says the FTC. This may help you get ahead of potential problems before they get worse. To help ensure maximum protection, work with your plan provider to be sure you've shared all necessary accounts and information for monitoring.
- Identity Restoration: Some plans may include access to a restoration specialist that helps restore your identity.
- Expense or stolen funds reimbursement: If your identity is stolen, some identity protection plans may reimburse you for different expenses associated with restoring your identity (such as administration or legal fees). Some plans might even reimburse you for funds that were stolen as a direct result of identity theft (such as money stolen from your bank account). However, remember that not all identity protection plans will reimburse you for direct losses stemming from identity fraud.
Your protection plan might help pay for remediation costs up front, but these details also vary by plan. If your plan helps cover costs on a reimbursement basis, be sure to keep receipts as you'll need to submit them to your plan provider later.Also, keep in mind that protection plans usually have a maximum payout outlined in the terms and conditions. This means any costs you incur beyond that limit would be your responsibility.
Becoming a victim of identity theft can be frustrating. But, if you have an identity theft protection plan, you're not alone when it comes to restoring your identity. Take time to understand what your identity theft protection plan covers so you can be better prepared if you ever need to file a claim.