Has an identity thief ruined your financial stability? Millions of Americans fall victim to identity theft each year. Before you even become aware of it, your life can become a nightmare. Your credit report might alert you. However, that perk typically limits you to one report every four months. A significant amount of damage can occur in the interim. Therefore, look out for the red flags that you might have missed.
Did an identity thief try to access your online accounts?
If you receive an identification alert from one of your online accounts, it might be a red flag, especially when you are not the one accessing the account. Make sure you have a strong password, such as adding four random words together. Also, add a special character, a number and use a mixture of lower and upper case letters.
Have debt collectors called you?
Once debt collectors start harassing you for debts of which you know nothing, someone might have stolen your identity. An identity thief may be busy shopping at your expense.
Has an identity thief stolen your credit card details?
Even if your credit card never left your sight, an identity thief might have stolen your card information. The first signs will include unexplained charges to your credit card. Most importantly, avoid using your card for online transactions using public Wi-Fi. This is one way to allow hackers easy access to your credit card details.
Are you receiving bills for goods you never purchased?
Open all the mail in your mailbox. Throwing away anything that looks like spam might include bills for goods you didn’t buy. Therefore, it won’t be long before you get calls asking you to pay those bills. Report it to the police as soon as possible, even if it is just to get the matter on record.
Has an identity thief made withdrawals from your bank account?
Nobody likes reconciling their check accounts, but that is how you will pick up any unauthorized spending. Do not look only for large amounts. For example, an identity thief may first withdraw small amounts to see whether it goes through. Therefore, any insignificant unfamiliar charges might alert you before they steal large amounts.
Have you stopped receiving regular bills?
With your email address, an identity thief can easily reroute your bills and other sensitive mail to prevent being caught. If your credit card and bank statements no longer arrive on time, or not at all, find out why.
Are your credit applications or insurance claims rejected?
If you know your credit score is good, but your applications or claims are denied, something must be wrong. An identity thief might have filed fake claims or applied for credit in your name.
An identity thief can even steal your tax information
You might receive notice that you have filed two tax returns. This is a huge red flag. An identity thief can claim a refund using your tax details. If the fraudulent claim goes through, the thief will attempt to steal it from your mailbox. You would want to report such fraud to the IRS as soon as possible.
In the same vein, telltale signs of identity theft include receiving mail in your mailbox addressed to someone else. Also, take note of any advertisements for high-priced items addressed to you. That might indicate that the thief purchased expensive items with your card. Now the seller tries to get you to come back for more.
It is so sad that we live in such times. Identity thieves and other scammers can rid us of our hard-earned money without feeling even a bit guilty. It is also sad that we cannot trust others and always lookout for potential thieves.