Continued from last week, this post provides part two of our two part series on red flags to help detect ID theft. Review the following to see if you may be a victim and not know it yet; if so, swift action will limit the damage:
Your mail is missing. If you don’t receive your bank statement, there could be a problem. The perpetrator may have changed your address with the financial institution. If other pieces of mail are missing, it may mean the perpetrator is collecting information about you to develop a profile. Similarly, if you don’t receive your email statement, someone may have conquered your online account and altered the settings to lock you out.
You receive unexpected mail. You might get a notice from the post office that your mail is being forwarded to another address, without having requested the address change. Or you receive a letter with respect to an account that you never opened. Other mailings that could be a sign of identity theft: You receive a credit card in the mail that you never applied for, or the IRS notifies you about unreported wage income that you didn’t earn.
You find errors in your Social Security statement. If you receive your statement and see that the earnings reported are greater than your actual earnings in a given year, someone might have stolen your Social Security number and be using it for wage reporting services, Stephens says.
You’re denied an application based on your credit. If you have good credit but are denied an application for, say, a new credit card or a loan, that may be an indication that your identity has been stolen.
You can’t access your email. You attempt to access your email but find that your username and password have been changed without your knowledge, or a similar scenario happens for another online account. That can be a sign that someone is covering their tracks for an identity-theft operation.
If you’re a victim of financial identity theft, the first thing to do is contact your bank or financial institution. You should then conduct a full audit of your personal finances and identify any questionable transactions. This information will be useful when it comes time to dispute the charges.
No matter what, the earlier you catch identity theft, the better—so stay vigilant.
For more ID theft resources, please visit www.hvshred.com