Last week, I posted about our house getting robbed. I'm starting to get over the initial shock, and I thought I would share with you some of the precautions Ashley and I took to bring some order back into our lives. Depending on what was stolen will determine what actions will need to be taken, so I'll go over the things stolen and our resulting actions. Some of this applies regardless, so I'll go over that first.
- Get out of the house. At the point that you realize that you've been robbed, you won't know if the criminals are still inside your home. It's just safer to leave the house.
- Call the police. They'll come and make sure your house is secure. Be prepared for a lengthy visit. The police were at our house for a couple of hours. The officer took pictures of the disturbed areas, helped us go through the house to log the items stolen, and dusted for fingerprints.
- Re-secure your home. You have to feel safe in your own home, so repair any damage that would allow a criminal back into your home that night. Even if it's just temporary, do it. You'll feel better. In our case, the point of entry was unknown, but since we never locked our back deadbolt, we think the back door was jimmied. Regardless, one of the fire safe boxes stolen contained spare keys to the house, so I went to the hardware store and picked up new locks for the entire house. I stayed up installing them that night.
- Notify your insurance company. They'll assist you in filing an insurance claim to help recover your losses.
That about covers the things you have to do regardless of what gets stolen. Unfortunately, we had a lot of information stolen that compromises our identities, so we had a feverish couple of days handling the rest of this.
- Notify the credit bureaus. Since my social security number and birth certificate got stolen, we put an alert on our credit for 3 months. We called TransUnion and they notified the other 2 big credit bureaus (Experian and Equifax) for us.
- Go to the bank. We had checks and account numbers stolen, so there is a lot to do here. Basically, we closed out all of our old bank accounts and created new ones. We could have just put a stop payment notice on the stolen checks, but it's better to be safe than sorry. This was where most of our efforts were focused because EVERYTHING that we do is automatically drafted/deposited.
- Contact your auto-drafted services and utilities. Since we changed bank accounts, we had to provide them the new account information. It wasn't hard to do, but it was just a lot of calls to make.
- Talk to your employer. You want to get paid, right? Let them know your new account number so that your direct-deposited check goes to the right place.
- Go to your other bank. Some checks to an equity line were taken as well. Since we don't use that equity line, we had the bank freeze the account so that no loans could be taken from it unless we showed up in person. If you have an equity line and use it, go to the bank and they will advise you on what to do.
- Get your social security card reprinted. Mine was taken, and I had to get a new one if I ever want to change jobs or get a passport. This was free, but the wait was horrible. The 2 times I've been to the social security office it was packed. Take a snack and be prepared to wait an hour or two.
- Get your birth certificate reprinted. This will cost money to replace, so make sure to keep the receipts for that insurance claim you might be filing.
- Get your vehicle titles reprinted. The fire safe had our vehicle titles in it, so I had to make a trip to the clerk's office to get new ones ordered. This will cost you some money, so make sure to keep the receipts for insurance.
- Get your marriage license reprinted. I'm just adding this for completeness. The same applies to the other non-free things above. Keep your receipts.
- Change your online passwords. Since we had a laptop stolen, we're changing all of our online passwords. Start with the most important things first like banks and credit cards and work your way down to the lesser important websites you use. I'd rather not take any chances, so secure those password protected websites. If this isn't a case for OpenID, I don't know what is.
- Get identity theft protection. I'm still researching companies for this, but I'll be subscribing to one of these services that monitor my credit for me. There are a lot of things you can do yourself, but it just might be worth it to have someone go to bat on your behalf if stuff starts happening here.
It's safe to say that this process sucks royally. Not only has our space been violated, but now we have to do a ton of work to protect ourselves. If you can think of anything I might have missed or have some advice for me, please share in the comments or contact me directly.