Identity theft has now moved solidly into the mainstream consciousness of most Americans. In the previous tax year, the number of fraudulently filed returns skyrocketed. In early June, the IRS announced that approximately 100,000 taxpayers’ private information had been accessed via the Get Transcript function on their own website. The American Institute of CPAs published a great blog post that highlighted a frequently overlooked angle that needs to be examined when you become aware that your identity has been compromised. 

Having your personal information stolen and used by criminals is incredibly upsetting. The two immediate actions that most frequently come to mind upon learning your identity has been stolen are to file a police report and request a copy of your credit report. But there’s another report you need to look at — the criminal background report. Once an identity has been stolen, it can be used to file tax returns, apply for credit cards, and to manufacture fake IDs. A fake ID can be presented by an identity thief as their own if they’ve committed a crime. 

So it’s entirely possible you could be completely unaware as you’re racking up a sizable criminal record. False charges can be removed, but having criminal charges unbeknownst to you can have serious consequences. A criminal background can torpedo your chances for landing a new job, getting a fresh apartment, or even being approved for a car loan. 

If you have the misfortune of having your identity stolen, be sure to request that a criminal background check be conducted also. This report is a critical part for anyone’s efforts to contain the damage of a compromised identity.