Post Menu and Details.
- 1. Unfamiliar Entries on Financial Records
- 2. Low Credit Rating
- 3. Unauthorized Login Warnings
- 4. Mail Being Sent to Person Unknown at Your Address
- 5. Being Contacted by Debt Collectors
- Dealing with Identity Theft
Reading time: ~4 minutes
When someone steals your identity, they can impersonate you in a number of ways. Most often, identities are stolen so that someone can access your finances. An identity thief may drain your bank accounts when they can log in to your online banking system, for example. Alternatively, an identity thief may take out numerous loans or credit cards in your name and use the funds without your knowledge.
As you might imagine, identity theft can have devastating consequences for victims. Despite the seriousness of this crime, it has become increasingly common. To help protect yourself from identity theft, take a look at these five signs your identity has been stolen:
1. Unfamiliar Entries on Financial Records
When you receive a monthly bank statement or you log in to your online banking account, you should recognize every entry that’s displayed. However, some companies trade under a brand name that’s different from their official registered name, which means that it can be challenging to identify some transactions.
Despite this, it’s vital to make sure that every entry on your accounts was initiated or authorized by you. Even relatively small transactions are worth checking out, as spotting identity fraud early could prevent larger unauthorized transactions from being made.
If you see any transactions you don’t recognize, contact your bank immediately. There may be other suspicious transactions pending that your bank can stop before the sums are debited from your account.
2. Low Credit Rating
Your credit score or rating reflects your financial standing and determines whether or not you’re approved for credit in the future. If you have a large amount of credit or you miss making regular repayments, for example, your credit score drops, and you become a less attractive candidate to potential lenders.
Everyone should monitor their credit score on a regular basis so that they can spot any unusual activity or unexplained changes. In fact, there are a variety of tools that make this easy to do. By checking out reviews of sites like https://www.top10.com/id-theft/reviews/clickfreescore, for example, you can find the best tools to use to keep track of your credit score and spot the signs of identity theft.
Note that everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each of the main credit bureaus, once every 12 months. Make sure you utilize this service. Look for strange entries you don’t recognize – it could be a sign someone has hijacked your identity and is borrowing money in your name.
3. Unauthorized Login Warnings
In today’s digital world, you might have hundreds of different logins for various websites and apps. If someone tries to gain access to any of these accounts, the site owner or administrator may issue an ‘authorized login warning’, usually in the form of an email, app notification, or SMS message. Similarly, if someone accesses your account from an unfamiliar device, you may receive a warning too.
It’s tempting to ignore these alerts when they come through, particularly if the account in question isn’t linked to any of your financial information. However, even one account being hacked can be a sign that your entire identity has been stolen. Due to this, it’s important to take action, update your security information and be aware of the latest cybersecurity scams and news.
4. Mail Being Sent to Person Unknown at Your Address
When you receive mail, it’s worth verifying its authenticity. If it has your address but uses a different name, for example, don’t simply assume that it’s been sent to the wrong location. Instead, it could be a sign that someone is intentionally using your address for unauthorized purposes, such as obtaining loans or credit cards.
Even if the mail has your name and address on it, make inquiries if you don’t recognize the company that it’s allegedly been sent from. If someone has used your identity to open accounts or access funds, you could be sent correspondence in the mail that relates to these transactions. You may also be sent parcels to your address in someone else’s name – be suspicious if an unexpected parcel shows up and a stranger knocks on the door asking for it.
5. Being Contacted by Debt Collectors
When debts aren’t repaid, companies will assign debt collectors to take action on their behalf. If you receive mail, phone calls, or emails from debt collection companies but you aren’t aware of any outstanding debts in your name, this could indicate that your identity has been stolen.
In such cases, you’ll want to get in touch with the owner of the debt, such as the credit provider, and confirm the details of the alleged account. This will enable you to confirm whether the debt is genuinely yours or whether you’ve been the victim of a crime. In addition, write to the collections agency to dispute the debt.
Dealing with Identity Theft
Having your identity stolen can be a traumatic experience, especially due to the far-reaching consequences this type of crime can have. As well as having your credentials misappropriated, you may have lost money if hackers have been able to transfer funds out of your accounts. Additionally, your credit score may have been severely impacted by unauthorized activity taking place in your name.
However, there is the action you can take to mitigate the damage. For example, you can report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/. You should also report the matter to the police so that an investigation can be conducted.
Never agree to pay a debt that isn’t yours, even when under pressure from doorstop debt collectors. You are in most cases under no obligation to repay debt as long as the proper authorities are notified.
If you suspect that you’re a victim of identity theft, it’s also important to contact your bank and other financial companies that you’re linked to. They can put blocks on your accounts to prevent further unauthorized activity. Similarly, changing your online passwords and upgrading your security can prevent anyone from continuing to use your identity and help to reassert your control.
Thank you for reading!