9 Warning Signs of Identity Theft
If you have been following us at any capacity, you should know by now how many people are actually impacted by identity theft. If you think you are safe from IDT, you are sadly mistaken.
Approximately 15.4 million people have been affected by Identity Theft. Total losses are up to $16 billion. In order to best protect yourself, you need to know what to look for in a potential Identity Theft situation.
Here are 9 Warning Signs of Identity Theft. If you match any of these signs, don’t panic! Read more to plan your steps to recovering your stolen identity.
Unexplained bank withdrawals
We can’t stress the importance of regularly monitoring your bank accounts. If you don’t have online banking alerts set up already, we suggest you sign up for them now. For those of you that already have alerts enabled, you will get alerts for any transactions in your accounts. This ensures that your accounts are protected from fraud.
If you see any unauthorized transactions happening on your accounts, this could mean that…
- Your debit or credit card was stolen and is being used by someone else
- Someone has skimmed your card number and now has access to your bank account
If you see any unauthorized transactions on your account, you should get in touch with your bank to make them aware of the situation. You should also dispute any charges to your account and request a new card. Afterward, it may be necessary to file a fraud or police report depending on the number of charges processed on your account.
Bills for services/products you did not receive
Similar to our previous point, if you receive bills for products you did not order or services you did not receive, it is possible that someone has been using your account for their purchases.
One common service that you may be billed for is a medical service. Medical identity theft is one of the most common forms of identity theft – in fact, 30% of people impacted by medical identity theft have no idea when the theft occurred. Some identity thieves go after your personal information to use it solely for medical services. Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, insurance numbers, etc. to receive medical services.
To safeguard yourself from medical identity theft, be sure to review any medical bills you receive to look for discrepancies. If you see any names, dates, services, or medical provider information that is incorrect, make sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
You stop receiving your mail
If you stop receiving bills or important documents via mail, it is possible that an identity thief has changed your mailing address. When someone gets ahold of your personal information, they have the key to your life. An identity thief can easily go to the Post Office and change your mailing address to reroute all mail to a fake address.
If you notice that your mail is not coming as regularly as it once did or that it has stopped coming altogether, you should look into it. If you are missing bank or credit card statements only, contact your bank or credit card provider individually. However, if you notice that all of your mail is missing, contact your post office directly.
Calls from debt collection for a debt you do not owe
Debt collection calls are one of the first signs of identity theft. If you are receiving calls from debt collectors, it means that…
- An account has been successfully opened in your name
- An account has been open and collecting debt for some time
If you start receiving calls about a debt that you did not accumulate, make sure to inform the debt collector that the debt is not yours. Afterward, put a freeze on your credit to ensure that another card cannot be opened in your name. Be sure to file a fraud report with the FTC.
Misinformation on credit report
If you are not checking your credit report yearly, you should start. Monitoring your credit score and credit report can help you catch identity theft tactics before they become harmful. When looking at your credit report, it is important to check every aspect of the report for any discrepancies.
If you notice anything incorrect on the credit report, the best thing to do is to start making a list of errors. When disputing things on your credit report…
File all errors separately. This will ensure that each error is corrected. Filing multiple errors at once can leave more room for the CRA to miss correcting an error.
Send the dispute in a letter via mail. Creating a letter by hand makes the claim personalized. Sending the letter via mail
ensures that you will get a tracking number so that you can see when the letter is sent and received.
Contact other companies that are impacted. Include a letter to these individual companies as well and any records, fraud reports, or police reports you may have.
An IRS Letter Regarding Wage Discrepancies
If someone has taken over your identity, it may come to light during tax season. If you receive a letter from the IRS stating that the wage amount on your Social Security statement doesn’t match what you filed on your tax return, someone may be using your identity.
This can also cause issues when filing taxes – if someone is using your personal information as theirs, you may get a notice that taxes have already been filed under your Social Security number. This can impact a number of things, but, most importantly, the status of your tax refund.
If you are concerned about tax fraud or think that someone may have filed their taxes using your information, read more about how to resolve tax fraud on our previous blog.
You are receiving 2-factor authentication alerts
2-factor authentication alerts give you peace of mind. The point of having a 2-factor authentication alert is to keep identity thieves out of your account. If you are receiving random alerts, it could mean that someone is trying to get into your accounts.
2-factor authentication is an added security measure that kicks in after you enter your username and password for your account. This second level can come in the form of…
- A bonus password
- A pin number
- A text verification
- A fingerprint/voice verification
Denial of a credit card or loan application
If you know you have good credit and suddenly get denied for a credit card or loan, it could be because of something you are not seeing. If you have credit, you can get one copy of your credit score per year. Obtaining this copy will not alter your credit score in any way. However, there is a workaround to this so that you can check your credit report more frequently.
There are 3 big credit reporting firms – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. You can request reports from the individual firms once a year as well. By spacing out your requests, you can get an updated credit report from one firm every few months.
Missing personal items
If your wallet, phone, credit card, Social Security card, or any other personal identification item goes missing, this could lead to identity theft. It is crucial to report any item that goes missing as soon as you notice that it is gone. Not only will this set an alert on this item, but it will help you to start the steps to recovery.
If you have lost or misplaced an item that can lead to identity theft, you should…
- Contact your bank. Alert them of the loss, cancel the account, and dispute any incorrect charges
- Contact your credit card company. Credit card companies are usually on top of suspicious activity and will likely alert you to anything that seems irregular on your account. Informing the company will allow them to cancel the card and issue you a new one.
- File a police report. Even if the police can’t do anything further to help in the situation, this will give you a record of the incident.
So, there you have it – 9 warning signs that your identity has been stolen!
Not seeing any of these warning signs but are still concerned about the safety of your identity? Check out our previous blog with tips on how to avoid Identity theft.
As always, let us know in the comments below if you have any questions! Give us a call at 855-200-6788 if you have specific concerns about your identity protection.