Millions of people are victims of stolen identity every year. Consequently, they end up spending thousands of dollars and a significant amount of their time dealing with the crime. Early detection is vital in solving identity theft.
To help you spot cases of identity theft, we have compiled a list of telltale signs:
Your checks bounce or your bank statement doesn’t look right
Check your financial accounts regularly. Should you notice any discrepancy, even if it seems small, contact your bank immediately. Never ignore any suspicious charges or unfamiliar withdrawals, no matter how small.
If you confirm that you have indeed fallen victim to identity theft, work with your bank to sort out all the fraudulent payments. You may have to close the affected account and open another one with a different account number. Don’t forget to update your automatic payments with the new account information.
There’s a warrant out for your arrest
When fraudsters have your Social Security number, they can use your name and other personal information when authorities arrest them for criminal activity. This is known as criminal identity theft. If this happens, authorities may issue a warrant for your arrest.
If it happens to you, you will have to act fast to clear your name. Start by contacting the law enforcement agency in your area, as well as in the area where the arrest warrant was issued. Keep in mind that you might have to prove to the arresting agency that you are not the criminal. You might do this through fingerprints or other means.
You can’t file taxes because someone else filed in your name
Sometimes criminals use your personal information to communicate with the government. This is known as government identity theft. Tax refund fraud or tax-related ID theft is an example of government identity theft.
Identity thieves use your personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth, and name to file taxes so they can cash in on your tax refund. As a result, you are unable to file your own returns.
If you can’t file returns, contact the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and your local police department. You may need a police report to resolve the issue.
You get a call from debt collectors
Receiving calls from debt collectors about unpaid bills you don’t recognize is a warning sign of identity theft. Criminals can use your name and personal information to accumulate debt.
To spot this type of identity theft, you have to check your credit report for unfamiliar charges or accounts. If you have fallen victim to this type of identity theft, you have to contact the three main credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) to dispute the charges or accounts.
Additionally, you may have to contact the service provider and have the account closed down immediately.
Final word on signs of identity theft
These are a few of the signs that your criminals have compromised your identity. Other signs include inability to access government benefits because someone is using your child’s SSN to collect benefits, receiving tax documents from employers you have never worked for, or receiving treatment solicitations for health conditions you don’t have. In a nutshell, if you notice anything fishy, take action immediately.