Article

How can I tell if I've been the victim of identity theft?

Author

LevelCredit LevelCredit

Published

22 August 2019

Here are some identity theft warning signs you can look for to minimize the damage and quickly get things under control.

Identity theft is something you may think won’t happen to you. It’s a problem for people who aren’t careful with their passwords and don’t shred documents, right?

Not necessarily.

Digital hackers have become quite sophisticated over the years, and increasingly more people are falling victim to identity theft each year.

 


According to a report from the U.S. Justice Department, about 16.6 million people were victims of identity theft in 2012 alone.

 

Sadly, identity theft is now very common, and being very careful typically isn’t enough to prevent it from happening. Although it may not always be possible to prevent identity theft, there are some warning signs you can look for to minimize the damage and quickly get things under control.

Here are five signs to watch out for that might indicate you’re a victim of identity theft:

You Receive a Phone Call from a Debt Collection Agency

If you answer the phone one day and the person on the other end of the line says you owe money for one or more purchases you have no recollection of making, this may be a fraud issue. Your card may have been physically or virtually stolen, or someone may have opened a credit account in your name.

There Are Extra Charges on Your Credit Card Statement

If you open your monthly credit card statement and notice some extra charges – charges that you know you didn’t make – that may be another indication that someone has stolen your credit card information.

You Receive a Statement for a New Credit Card

If you open your mailbox one day and there’s a credit card statement from a card company you definitely didn’t sign up for, that’s a red flag that your identity may have been stolen. The thief will then use the new card to go on a shopping spree while sticking you with the bill.

You No Longer Receive Your Credit Card Bill

Not receiving a credit statement in the mail is another indication that fraud may have occurred.

If this happens, it’s possible someone may have stolen your card information and used it to make purchases. The reason you don’t get a statement is that the perpetrator has changed the billing address in an attempt to conceal the fraud.

An Application for Credit is Denied – Despite You Having Good Credit

If you know you have good credit and an application for credit (credit card, home loan, auto loan, etc.) is denied, there may be something negative on your credit report that may be the result of identity theft.

Some identity thieves are pretty good at covering their tracks, and the only way you’ll ever discover your identity has been stolen is when something shows up on your credit report.

 


Because of this, it’s vitally important to keep tabs on the content of your credit reports – so you can recognize when something fishy suddenly shows up.

 

Once you do notice fraud, be proactive and report it to the company it’s happened with immediately and take decisive action to make things right.