If you suspect someone might be trying to use your information to steal your identity, contact one of the credit reporting bureaus as soon as possible to put a Fraud Alert on all your accounts. This will make it significantly harder for someone (even if it’s you) to use your credit and try opening any new accounts. Below you will find a continuation of the first blog on warning signs of identity theft, with the final four most common signs to look for.
Collection notices or calls.
It is all too easy to assume the information is an error, however, it’s in your best interest to ask some follow up questions. If you receive this type of call, inquire about what the debt is for, and if you believe they have the wrong person, send a letter via certified mail to the collection agency requesting proof of the debt and creditor within 30 days. This should get the process started to resolve the issue.
Your application for credit, or a credit card, is denied.
Another blatant sign of identity theft would be if you go to apply for a line of credit and are turned away due to your credit score – especially if you haven’t reached your credit limit or normally have good credit. Your next step, if you run into this scenario would be to ask the lender reason for the denial. An identity thief could be accumulating debt on your behalf or ruining your credit score with unpaid bills in your name.
Missing mail, statements or emails.
If someone does gain access to one or more of your accounts, the first step they may take is to change your mailing address in an attempt to conceal any fraudulent activities. Another sign to look for would be a notification from the post office that a change of address was submitted, or forwarding address has been assigned. You may need to resolve this issue in person at your local US Postal Service office.
Errors on your tax return or Social Security statement.
If someone is trying to use your information, they could go as far as to report earnings to the Internal Revenue Service in your name. If this happens, the IRS may notify you that they have received multiple tax returns filed in your name. You can access your Social Security statement (available at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount) to make sure the information provided matches your actual earnings, and be sure to report any suspicious activity.
Credit bureaus, government agencies, banks, and the like, do their best to catch fraudulent activities, however, the best way to catch fraudulent activity is to remain an active participant and surveyor of your own accounts and activity. Determining a monthly budget will make it easier to spot unusual activity in your accounts, and making it a habit to check statements monthly and credit reports annually, while it may be a pain, will be a fraction of the effort you will have to endure if your identity is, in fact, stolen.
If you have any questions, call Dolaghan Law at (904) 354-4935. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional, or expert for specific information on how certain laws apply to you and about your individual financial situation.