Protecting Your Identity

10 Warning Signs of Identity Theft

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You may be doing everything you can to protect yourself against identity theft, but your information may still end up in the wrong hands through no fault of your own. But how do you know that you have become a victim?

Keep an eye out for any of the following 10 warning signs that your identity has been stolen.

  1. You haven't received one or more of your regular monthly bills. Thieves can file a change of address in your name to reroute your mail — or simply snag that mail straight from your mailbox if it sits there too long — and retrieve important personal information such as account numbers and financial statements.
     
  2. You notice unfamiliar charges on your credit or debit cards. This could be for multiple large purchases, or it could be for a very small purchase (a dollar or less) that a criminal made to make sure your card is still active before selling it on an underground site.
     
  3. You get calls from bill collectors, debt collection agencies or merchants who claim you owe them money. But the debts are for items or services you never purchased.
     
  4. You get bills or statements in the mail for new accounts you haven't opened or medical procedures you haven't had done.
     
  5. You see errors on your credit report, including debts or payments in default that do not belong to you.
     
  6. You are denied credit when applying for financing or new credit cards, even though your last credit report showed that your credit is good.
     
  7. Your medical insurance claim is denied because the insurance company says your records show you have already had a procedure done or have maxed out your benefits, even though you know neither of those are true.
     
  8. After filing your tax return, you get a notice from the Internal Revenue Service saying that you have filed two returns. This most likely means someone else filed using your information before you submitted your own return.
     
  9. You are pulled over for what you think is a routine traffic stop and the officer informs you that there is a warrant out for your arrest: someone else has been using your identity and committing criminal acts.
     
  10. You can't log on to your email or social media accounts because your password has been changed by criminals who have gained access to the account and all your personal information stored in it.

If one of these things has happened to you, you need to act immediately. The sooner you take steps to report the possible theft, the better chance you have of protecting yourself from identity theft losses.

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