New online tool helps with identity theft - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New online tool helps with identity theft

(KFVS) -

There are a number of steps someone can take to prevent identity theft, but happens if it happens to you?

Majority of people will spend long days tracking down loans they never took, credit card purchases they never made and crimes they never committed when their identity is stolen.

One bad online transaction is all it took for Maggie Sims to have her identity stolen.

"Nine times out of ten I pay all of my bills with my debit card,” she said.

The convenience of an online bill pay overshadowed good judgment and Sims found herself hundreds of dollars in debt.

"It was five-hundred and something in charges but everyday you're charged 39-dollars so you keep going in the hole,” said Sims.

There's no question that identity theft's a problem, but the problem that soon follows suit is getting your money back.

The Federal Trade Commission places 'debt collection' in the number two spot directly behind actually having your identity stolen on the list of consumer complaints in 2014.

Enter identitytheft.gov.

The new website claims if you follow the step-by-step instructions you won't be held responsible for any charges made in your name, and credit reporting agencies must remove fraudulent information from your credit report.

"I wish I would have had those resources at that time,” she said.

Of the millions of Americans who fall victim to identity theft each year, some are more vulnerable than others.

Certain life events put you more at risk such as buying or selling a home, getting married or divorced, becoming a parent and losing or starting a job.

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