Press "Enter" to skip to content

Would You Know If Your Identity Had Been Stolen?

Identity theft is on the rise, but many people don’t realize their identity has been stolen right away. Unless you’re watching your transactions and credit report like a hawk, it’s easy to miss the signs that you’ve been a victim – that is until the collection notices start arriving and the creditors start calling.

Knowing the signs of identity theft can help you nip it in the bud before thieves have the chance to steal your medical benefits, rack up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt in your name, get a fraudulent ID issued in your name, or worse. Each year, 1.4 million people in the United States fall victim to identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission. You must remain vigilant, in case you are one of them. Watch out for these signs that your identity has been compromised.

You’re Getting Credit Applications Unexpectedly Denied

Of course, just because you have a credit application denied doesn’t necessarily mean that your identity has been stolen. Lenders take many factors into consideration when choosing whether or not to extend credit. But if you were expecting to get a credit application approved, a denial could mean that your score has dropped without your knowledge or that someone has racked up a lot of debt in your name. It’s worth checking your credit report if this happens to you.

Your Credit Score Has Dropped

If your credit score has dropped precipitously, it could be a sign that someone is using – and fouling up – your credit. While it’s normal for your credit score to change a little when you open a new credit card, take out a new loan, or pay off an existing debt, big or unexpected changes in your credit score could be a sign of identity theft.

You Get Alerts for Transactions You Didn’t Make

If you’re seeing transactions you didn’t make appear on your bank or credit card accounts, that means your account has been compromised and someone has been stealing your money. Report this suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company right away.

New Accounts That You Didn’t Open Are Appearing on Your Credit Report

If you’re getting mail about accounts you didn’t open or you’re seeing new accounts that you don’t recognize popping up on your credit report, that’s a sign that someone is opening new accounts in your name.

You’re Getting Collection Notices and Calls from Collection Agencies

Identity thieves don’t pay off the debts they rack up – or if they do, it’s merely a prelude to getting as much fraudulent credit out of your identity as they can. When you start getting collection notices and collection calls for accounts you didn’t open, that’s a sure sign that your identity was stolen, probably  months ago.

There Are Discrepancies on Your Social Security Account

Thieves may use your Social Security number to perpetrate all kinds of theft, including working illegally under your name and collecting your Social Security benefits. Access your Social Security account and check it for suspicious activity regularly.

Your Expected Mail Is Going Missing

If mail or even email that you were expecting isn’t showing up, that means someone could be stealing your mail or redirecting it to another address. Use Informed Delivery to keep track of what items should be coming to your address in the mail.

You’re Getting Mail at Your Address with Someone Else’s Name

Often, this is just a mixup, usually as a result of a previous resident not updating their address with the sender. But sometimes it can be a sign that your information has been used in synthetic identity theft, a form of identity theft in which thieves cobble together a fake identity they can use to open credit accounts and so forth. Even if thieves have only stolen a small part of your personal information, you could still get stuck with the bill.

You’re Getting Medical Bills for Treatments You Didn’t Receive

Identity thieves will steal medical insurance information in order to get treatment for themselves under someone else’s name. If you’re getting medical bills you don’t recognize, contact your insurance provider to dispute them. You should also contact your doctor to make sure incorrect medical information isn’t being added to your files.

You’ve Been the Victim of a Data Breach

If you’ve been the victim of a data breach, it’s worth getting some protection from identity theft. Being involved in a data breach means that your personal information has likely been leaked to the dark web, and while it’s not a guarantee that your identity will be stolen, it definitely puts you at risk.

You Discover That There’s a Warrant Out for Your Arrest

Identity thieves could commit additional crimes and give the police your name and information, and you won’t find out about it until you’re stopped by the police.

Someone Has Filed a Tax Return Under Your Name, Without Your Knowledge

Thieves can use your personal information to file your taxes before you do and steal your tax return. The IRS’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft can help you figure out next steps.

It’s not always easy to tell when you’ve been the victim of identity theft. Make sure you know the signs, so you can take swift action when identity thieves strike.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *