You can never be too careful about avoiding identity theft. In addition to taking practical steps to limit your risk and possibly looking into identity theft insurance, it’s good to know the warning signs of identity theft, so that if you do fall victim, you can take the proper steps to sorting out the problems right away. So what should you be aware of? The following is a list of warning signals indicating that you may be a victim of identity theft. This list is by no means the full list of clues, but if any of these things happens to you, you should act right away.
Your credit card statement includes purchases you didn’t make or your bank statement includes withdrawals you didn’t make: Someone may have gotten hold of your account information and they could now be committing credit fraud or bank fraud in your name. Contact the bank or credit card company the account is under, and also get a copy of your credit report.
You receive a credit card that you did not apply for: Contact the credit issuer right away and ask them for details about the new credit card such as when it was applied for etc. Many credit card companies issue pre-approved credit cards, but if this is not a pre-approved card, someone has committed credit fraud using your name.
You are denied credit or offered less favorable credit than you past spending deserves: Contact the credit issuer and ask for details. You may also want to get a copy of your credit report and your credit score. Look for accounts or loans that are not yours but established in your name. A denial of credit could mean someone has been accumulating debt on your behalf.
You get a denial of credit that you didn’t apply for: If a credit company sends you a denial of credit but you never applied for their card, it means that someone else applied for the card pretending to be you. Again, this is credit fraud. It also means that someone may have also been accumulating debt in your name and this is why the application was denied. Contact the credit issuer immediately and ask for details.
You receive credit card or bank statements in your name but you do not hold the account they’re billing you for: Someone may have used your personal information to establish a credit or bank account in your name. They will collect debt in your name and have no intention of paying it off. Contact the company the account is with for more information.
You no longer receive credit card, bank, or utilities statements: Someone may have stolen your statements from the mail to get your personal information so they can commit identity theft on you. Alternatively, someone may have already gotten the information about these accounts and rerouted your statements so that you don’t know he/she is spending or withdrawing from your accounts. Contact the companies you deal with to see if anyone has changed your mail to address. Contact the post office if you think someone has been stealing your mail.
You applied for a credit card or bank account but you are not getting a card or statements: Someone may have intercepted your mail and gotten to them before you. Contact the bank or credit company to see if your account has been approved, when, and whether they have sent anything out to you yet.
You notice some of your mail is missing: Someone may have been stealing your mail to access your personal information or take advantage of your pre-approved credit cards, etc. Contact the post office immediately and closely monitor your bank and credit statements.
You receive notice of a mail redirection request you didn’t make: Someone may be trying to redirect your mail to get hold of your personal information or hide an identity theft they’ve already committed. Contact the post office immediately to get more information and rectify the request. Keep a close eye on your credit and bank statements.
You receive bills from companies you don’t recognize: Someone may have gotten hold of your personal information and used it to charge a company’s products or services to you. Contact the company for information on when they first and last dealt with you.
There are credit cards or loans that you didn’t open listed on your credit history: Someone may have opened these accounts in your name as an act of financial fraud. You will need to start the process of resolving identity theft. Start by contacting the company the account is opened with and the credit-monitoring bureau you got the report from.
Your credit report reveals inquiries from companies you never dealt with: Someone may have tried to establish a credit account in your name with one of these companies. Contact the inquiring company for information on the inquiry.
Debt collection companies try to collect debts that aren’t yours: Someone has been establishing debts in your name. Ask for more information about the debt and who their collecting for. Contact this company and get copies of your credit report.
You are arrested for a crime you didn’t commit: Someone may have used your personal information to make an ID in with your information and their picture on it. Get more information from the police.
If any of these identity theft warning signs happen to you, the first thing you should do is contact the company any suspicious account activity is with. Keep a close eye on your credit and bank statements, make sure to get copies of your credit files, and contact the police and the FTC for a report. Visit our guide on steps to take if you’re an identity theft victim for more information.