If your identity has been stolen, the sooner you find out the sooner you can start mitigating damages.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, here are 10 warnings signs your identity has been stolen:
- Withdrawals from your bank account that you didn’t make
- Missing bills and/or other mail.
- Debt collectors trying to reach you about debts that aren’t yours
- Your credit report shows accounts that you don’t recognize or charges that weren’t authorized.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Receiving medical bills for services you didn’t receive
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- Having trouble getting a health plan because 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.
Many of the same warning signs are to alert for children having their identity stolen.
One in ten children today have had their identities stolen or used. But even though most of these crimes are committed by family members and friends, it’s still important to know the signs there as well.
- pre-approved credit card offers and mail
- bills or bank statements that are for bank accounts your child does not have
- debt collection calls or letters
If you think your identity here are 8 steps you should immediately do to start putting your life back together
- Call your financial institution and report the fraudulent activity.
This will allow the bank to close the account and lock down the card. This can stop the offender from continuing to use your account and further causing damage.
- Change all your passwords.
most folks use the same passwords for their email accounts etc. if your account has been compromised, you might have no idea how much information the offender has (or how long they have had it). They could move to another card if they gained access through your email.
- Review your bank statements & credit reports for fraudulent account
pull all your bank statements for the past 3 months and see if you can pinpoint any fraudulent changes.
Also, you have access to 3 free credit reports each year (one from each of the three major credit bureaus). It’s time to pull all your reports and start combing through to see how far it goes.
- File a report with the Federal Trade commission (FTC).
They will send you a document with details on what to do to start the recovery process.
- Go to your local police station and report the incident
They aren’t likely to do much, since police can’t help if it was stolen online or from someone overseas, but at least it gives a police report that can be used in the next step.
- Setting up fraud alerts on your credit.
with one of the 3 credit bureaus you can set up fraud alerts that require lenders to do additional background checks before granting any credit under your ssn. The one bureau will tell the others.
- Setting up a credit freeze while you are at it
a credit freeze will protect you from additional loans being created, but it doesn’t stop folks from using existing account information. Eitherway, it’s good to have your credit on lockdown to prevent further damage
- Get credit monitoring
It might seem like closing the gate after the horse is already gone, but ssns can be used several times by several different individuals. If anything does happen in the future you will be more likely to catch it sooner.
I pray this is a post you never really have to use, but in this day and age, with data breaches, phishing scams, and plain off mailbox and front step pirates, it’s not a matter of if, but of when.
To your success.