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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

Signs That You’re A Victim Of Identity Theft

Most victims of identity theft don't detect the crime until long after it's occurred.

Most victims of identity theft don’t detect the crime until long after it’s occurred.

The FBI has reported that millions of Americans have their identities stolen annually and that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation. Given the amount of technology individuals are using on a daily basis paired with this growing trend of information theft, it’s not a stretch to say that it’s not a matter of if your identity will be stolen, but when. Identity protection is therefore important, but the timely discovery of a crime can be even more valuable. Unfortunately, most victims don’t realize they’ve been compromised until weeks, months or even years after the crime has occurred.

Signs You’re A Victim Of Identity Theft

  • Credit report: Check your credit report for inaccuracies. If a business you’ve never visited has recently checked your credit, then that’s a red flag. So is any change made to your address or any new line of credit opened in your name.
  • Debt collectors: If you start getting calls from debt collectors, that may mean that someone has been spending money using your information. Get in contact with the collector to establish whether or not they’re calling the correct person.
  • Insurance statements: Be sure to check your insurance statements for false charges, as well. Most people don’t pay attention to their insurance accounts, making it a veritable gold-mine for identity thieves. Medical insurance fraud can be especially dangerous because criminals who use your information to receive medical care will be putting false information into your medical history. This could change the treatment you next receive.
  • Strange mail: If you start getting catalogs addressed to you but listed under a different name, that could mean that a criminal is handing out your address to different stores.
  • Unrecognized charges: If you see foreign or unknown charges on your bank account or credit card statement, then you should call your bank right away to report the incident. This is likely a sign that someone stole your credit or debit card information, or even the physical card itself. Even small charges should be reported because thieves will often make very minor purchases just to see if anyone is closely monitoring the account. It’s only once they feel secure that they’ll then charge larger items to the account or apply for new lines of credit in your name.
  • Unordered merchandise: Sometimes products you never ordered will be delivered to your address. If this happens, it could mean that someone has used the credit card you have on file to order items, forgetting to change the default shipping address. In this case, contact your creditor and cancel the account. Then, call the retailer and return the product, change your login password to the site and remove any saved card information. It may seem like keeping a card on file saves time, but clearing up identity theft takes much more time. It’s all around safer not to store this kind of information online.
  • Your credit card gets denied: If a transaction fails, that may mean someone has been using your account. Call your bank to find out what the problem is.

If you’re still concerned that you may become a victim of identity theft, you may want to register for a credit monitoring service, which alerts you to certain transactions that may indicate fraud.