Check it out: Everything is a little easier when you have a list of steps to help you accomplish your objective. Here are some things you can do.

Start with a review

Take inventory of information that’s potentially lost or exposed
The Federal Trade Commission’s Identity.gov site has a list of the most common information you’ll want to track.

Inform people and institutions who can help
Report it to the authorities right away. The sooner you report the activity, the sooner you limit your liability. The Federal Trade Commission’s Identity.gov site is a good place to start the reporting process.

Update all your other financial institutions, too.
Let the banks and companies where you have credit cards know about the situation. Don’t forget to include your Financial Advisor if you haven’t already.

Head off further access to your information

Change your passwords.
Help prevent additional fraud by switching up your passwords. Use a different one for every site you access. And mix up letters, numbers, and symbols to make it tougher for fraudsters to figure out.

Block credit-history access with a fraud alert or freeze.You can request the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) alert you when your credit report is requested or even freeze your credit report from being accessed.

With an alert you’ll still be able to obtain credit. However, with a freeze, you’ll have to request a temporary thaw if you decide to apply for a mortgage, car loan, or other type of credit. A freeze prevents fraudsters from applying for credit cards or taking out loans in your name (although they’ll still be able to use an existing credit card). Here’s the contact information:

Get proactive

Stay alert for increased phishing emails.
Don’t click on a link, especially if it’s to a financial institution. Instead, call the company (or your financial advisor) directly, at the number on your statement or credit card.

File your tax return early.
Beat potential scammers by filing your return—and getting any tax refund you’re owed—as soon as you receive the reporting information you need.

Credit reporting agency contact information
Equifax800-685-1111www.equifax.com
Experian888-397-3742www.experian.com
Trans Union800-888-4213www.transunion.com

To learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their financial professionals, visit FINRA’s BrokerCheck website: http://brokercheck.finra.org/