10 Signs You’re Identity Has Been Stolen
Millions of people fall victim to identity theft each year costing them heavy in both time and money. Catching identity theft early on is the best way to fight it. The earlier you do, the quicker you are able to begin restoring any damage that has been done. In order to make this happen, you need to on alert for the signs of identity theft.
Below are 10 signs that you may have been the victim of identity theft.
1. There are withdrawals from your checking account that you did not make
Often, this is the first sign of identity theft. When looking at your account, you may see purchases you did not make or checks you did not write. Before something like this takes place, put in a call to your bank and see what their procedure is for handling identity theft with regards to your checking account. You might be able to put some security measures in place that can help deter something like this from happening in the first place.
2. You access your credit report and there are accounts you did not open
This is a pretty obvious one. You may see errors in your report like an opened credit card that you closed, but a new account opening is an alert that someone has stolen your identity. Also be sure to go over any credit inquiries. If you see any that don’t look familiar, this is a sign someone has tried to open an account in your name. You are eligible to view your credit report for free each year, take advantage of it.
3. You are receiving phone calls from debt collection agencies
If you are receiving phone calls from debt collectors, this is a sure sign of identity theft. On the flip side, this could also be a debt collection scam. In this scenario, the scammer tricks you into believing you owe money on a debt and they try collecting it from you. They may even threaten arrest to get you to pay or at least divulge personal details. Your first line of defense is knowledge. Be sure to know what your debt collection rights are.
4. The IRS has rejected your tax return
This type of tax refund scam is one of the most rampant ones because it is so simple to do. The individual who has stolen your identity files a tax return in your name and collects the refund money from the IRS. The only way you end up finding out is when you go to file your taxes and you are notified by the IRS that you have already filed for the year.
5. A business you frequent has notified you that they have experienced a data breach
We may have all received one of these letters at one time or another. Whether it be a store or your bank, you are notified that there has been a data breach. When something like this occurs, you are typically offered free credit monitoring or a freeze put on your credit which will keep anyone from using your credit to apply for anything.
6. You start receiving medical bills for procedures or doctor visits you did not have
Medical identity theft is by far one of the more distressing types of identity theft. You can find out one day that in a short span of time, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of medical bills have been accumulated in your name. To make matters worse, your own insurance may not even cover any medical expenses that you have for yourself because your benefits have been exhausted. There are even future implications if the thieve’s medical information ends up mixed up with your own medical records.
7. You are unusually denied for a loan or credit card
If you know yourself to have a pretty good credit score and you end up denied for a loan, that is a red flag that your identity was stolen. Go ahead and access your credit report to see the discrepancies. Also keep in mind that if you are turned down for a loan, you are entitled to know why.
8. Your checkbook or credit card go missing
We have all looked for a checkbook or credit card and assume that it has been misplaced in your home somewhere. This could be the case, but do keep in mind that a decent percentage of identity theft is actually committed by someone you know. This could be a friend, family member, neighbor or any other acquaintance.
9. You get a new credit card in the mail
If you happen to receive a credit card in the mail that you did not apply for, you guessed it, someone may have applied for it using your name. Any welcome letters from credit card companies that you have not contacted is also a sign of identity theft.
10. Bills stop arriving in the mail
If you stop getting important pieces of mail like a bank statement or utility bill, this could mean someone has changed your address or someone is stealing your mail from your mailbox.
In an effort to keep your identity secure, be sure to do the following:
- Check your credit report on a regular basis
- Get identity theft protection to help monitor your credit
- Report any unusual activity on your bank or credit card statement
- Always protect your Social Security Number. Do not print it on your checks and never give it to an unknown source.
- Any paperwork with personal details should be shredded prior to disposing of it.