Let’s get the new year started with a review of the basics for identity theft detection. There are many ways that you might discover someone is using your information:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
If you see one of these warning signs of identity theft, act quickly. Taking these steps will help you limit the damage.
- Call the companies where you know or suspect fraud occurred.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and get copies of your report.
- Report identity theft to the FTC.
- File a report with your local police department.
Then, take a deep breath and begin to repair the damage. Depending on your situation, your next step might be closing accounts opened in your name, or reporting fraudulent charges to your credit card company. There are some good resources at IdentityTheft.gov.
Another great resource is www.hvshred.com; we can help securely dispose of your confidential data.