The various signs of identity theft help you identify if you are a victim. Identity theft is one of the chief crimes in the United States and approximately 10 million US citizens suffer from this crime every year.
Each and everyone is a potential victim of identity theft. Therefore, everyone must take steps to avoid it. You can avoid it even after becoming a victim if you address the problem at the right time. Following are the various signs of identity theft:
Errors on your bank or credit card statement
While checking your bank or credit card statement, you might find some unusual entries such a withdrawal, purchase, etc. that you didn’t conduct. This is probably the first sign of identity theft.
Decline of credit
If you are one of those who tend to have good credit & stay up to date with your credit card payments, and still get declined to acquire a credit line, then it could be due to issues with your credit. Someone else could have used your identity to apply for credit lines and crossed the credit limits.
Your account is flagged
If you receive a phone call, mail or email regarding your bank account notifying you about anomalies in your account, then it is again a sign that your identity might be at risk. If it is an email, make sure it is not a phishing email.
Refusal of your checks
You give a check for payment to a merchant or some institution, and it gets rejected, then it can be due to your decreased credit which you are unaware of.
Calls/letters from debt collectors
You may receive calls or letters from debt collectors asking for information about new accounts opened in your name or irregular entries in your existing account which you are totally unaware of. This could be the work of identity thief.
Errors in your Social Security statement
When you receive your Social Security statement, you may find that the earnings shown in the report are greater than your actual earnings. This may happen if an identity thief steals your Social Security Number (SSN) and uses it for wage reporting services.
Notification from the IRS
You may receive a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) informing you that different tax returns are filed in your name.
Declined credit score
If you find a severe drop in your credit score, then beware! You could be a victim of identity theft. Although dropping few points is usual but when you see a severe decrease, get alerted.
Errors on your credit report
While checking your credit report, if you find unusual entries in the report, you can be sure that your identity has been compromised. The most common indicators that your identity has been stolen are- inaccurate personal financial information such as debts, accounts you didn’t open, etc. in the credit report. The report may also have inaccurate personal information such as address, social security number, etc.
It may happen that you stop receiving some important mails such as your bank or credit card statements. This situation can occur if the thief has changed your mailing address respective to the financial institution.
Inaccessible online account
The most common sign of identity theft is that while trying to log into your online accounts such as your email or social media account making you the victim of social media identity theft (in the case of hacked social media account), you are not able to access your own account! This could happen if a hacker hacks your account and then changes the password, so you cannot access it anymore.
Notice from the post office
You might get a notice from the post office informing you that due to a request of address change, your mails are being directed to another address. An identity thief might do this to access all your mails.
Unexpected credit cards
Has it ever happened that you receive a credit card in your name without applying for it? Well, don’t ignore it as a mistake. An identity thief could have applied for it using your identity for misusing it. Immediately contact the respective company.
If you receive a notice informing you that due to a breach of data at a company where you have an account or you do business, your information was compromised. Then, it a clear sign that your identity has been compromised.
Problems with medical insurance
While claiming your medical insurance, you are informed that your medical situation could not be covered by your medical insurance, as it already has been used. But, you have not used it anytime. An identity thief could have claimed your insurance by impersonating you.
You may get an arrest warrant in your name for a crime you never committed. This could be the result of a criminal committing a crime in your name.
The more identity theft goes on, the more damage will be done. Don’t rely on others to catch the problem, instead, take steps to protect yourself. It is very important to look for any warning signs about your identity getting compromised. The security of your identity lies in your own hands.