Top 14 Signs Of Identity Theft
Because identity theft is one of the leading crimes in the United States, individuals can never be too careful about avoiding it. In addition to following commonsense identity theft prevention tips and signing up for a reputable identity theft protection service, individuals should familiarize themselves with the early warning signs of identity theft. If they are alerted by early warning signs, then they are able to stop identity theft before any significant financial losses are incurred. Remember that identity theft is a cumulative process, whereby thieves need to accumulate various pieces of personal information before stealing an individual’s identity completely. Therefore, a close lookout should be kept for these signs:
- A phone call is received from a collection agency informing someone that they are collecting for an account that was opened fraudulently. Ask the collection agency for more information, specifically who they are collecting for and what the debt is for.
- An individual never receives their bank or credit card statements. If this happens, contact any companies dealt with to see if account information has been changed. The United States Postal Service should also be contacted if mail theft is suspected.
- A call is received approving or denying credit for an unauthorized request. If this is the case, find out how the account was opened, and gather all possible details.
- There are unauthorized charges on credit card statements. If this happens, contact the credit issuer immediately and ask for details. Also, obtain a credit score.
- An account has been completely drained. The bank or credit agency should be contacted directly and all details related to the account should be obtained. Also, obtain a credit score.
- An individual discovers a “credit inquiry” on their credit score. The credit agencies should be contacted immediately.
- A credit score contains inaccurate information. When this happens, contact the credit bureau where the credit score was obtained from.
- Receiving calls from businesses about unauthorized service charges. The businesses should be contacted asking when they were dealt with.
- Receiving a high-interest rate or other less favorable credit terms without reason. If this should occur, ask the credit issuer for details. Also, obtain a credit score and credit score to analyze.
- Information is received through the mail about apartments rented, cars or houses purchased that were unauthorized. All related parties should be contacted and asked for details.
- An individual learns that their credit history is preventing them from obtaining a loan or mortgage. A copy of their credit score should be obtained and any companies affiliated with the unauthorized debt should be contacted.
- An unauthorized mail redirection request is received. The company should be contacted directly, and all details related to their business should be obtained.
- Checks, utility bills and/or mail are missing. The post office should be contacted and financial statements should be monitored closely.
- An individual applied for a credit account or bank account and has not been getting their card or statements. The bank or credit card company should be contacted directly to see if they were approved.
In addition to being aware of the above warning signs, individuals should also monitor their:
Credit scores contain personal information, including all current accounts and how bills are paid. State laws require that all consumers receive a free annual credit score from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Fraudulent accounts will show up on a credit score as well as inquires from companies, debts and any addresses.
Individuals should monitor their financial statements, including all credit card and bank account statements, on a regular basis, looking for any signs of unauthorized charges.