Catching identity theft early can minimize damage.
The world is filled with unsavory people.
A goodly number of them are just plain criminals!
Certain individuals would rather take advantage of your good reputation, your hard work, and your finances than earn an honest wage themselves.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, you cannot assume irregularities in your accounts are simple oversights.
According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “Beware These 8 Signs of Identity Theft,” the Federal Trade Commission received more than 1.4 million reports of identify theft in 2020.
This figure was more than double the number filed in 2019.
Remaining vigilant for warning signs of identity theft is important to protecting you and your loved ones.
What are some common signs?
Changes in your credit report.
Carefully review your credit for accounts or charges you do not recognize.
Identity thieves may have opened accounts in your name or accessed your existing accounts.
Make it a habit to check your credit report online regularly.
Federal law allows you to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the primary companies for credit reporting.
These companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
During the pandemic, credit reports are available for free weekly.
A merchant declining your check.
Are you timely in paying your bills and thorough in balancing your checkbook?
If yes, you should be surprised when a merchant declines a check.
This may be an indicator that someone nefarious has been using your bank account.
Review your credit card and bank statements for withdrawals or charges you do not recognize.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov if you have become a victim of identity theft.
You can also request a credit freeze from the three major credit bureaus.
At this time, you can do so for free.
What does this do?
It prevents someone from opening an account in your name.
Not receiving mail.
Are you not receiving correspondences or bills as expected?
Your mail may be intercepted by identity thieves.
Receiving calls from debt collectors.
If you pay your bills on time, you should not be receiving calls from debt collectors.
These calls may be a sign of identify theft where someone has built up debt in your name.
Health insurers rejecting a claim.
If your insurer has records showing you have met your benefit limit, you may have been the victim of identity theft.
The thief could have taken full advantage of your benefit and left you unable to make a legitimate claim.
Unexplained medical bills.
Did you get a bill for a service you did not receive?
If so, your health insurance information may be compromised.
Suspicious changes in your medical records.
Does your medical record indicate your have a condition you do not have?
You should correct this information quickly because it can significantly impact whether you are able to get the care you need.
When you notice any of these common signs for identity theft, take action quickly to report the problem.
To protect yourself, do not click unknown or suspicious links online or embedded within emails and be careful with your personal and financial information.
Reference: Money Talks News (Aug. 10, 2021) “Beware These 8 Signs of Identity Theft”