File a police report

Don't call 911, but do call local enforcement if your wallet, purse, laptop containing your identifying information was in a vehicle or your home when stolen. In some large metropolitan areas, there may not be any investigation of your reported theft, but you still need the police report number to help protect your interests.


Notify Your Creditors

As soon as you become aware your identifying information has been stolen or lost, notify your creditors. The sooner you get this done, the easier it will be for you to convince the creditors that any fraudulent charges are not yours. You need to give the police report number.


Alert The Major Credit Bureaus

You should notify the credit bureaus that some of your personal information been stolen and ask for a fraud alert. Do not request this on-line because some bureaus have arbitration clauses buried in the terms of use. This is important if the bureaus fail to correct the error because you can't sue them if there is an arbitration agreement. Keep track of your credit bureau reports frequently. Each of the bureaus must give you a free report every year. Order them one at a time 4 months apart and repeat the cycle every year. That way you are getting the latest snapshot of your credit.