Identity theft is a rampant and growing problem across the country. Despite
financial institutions creating new and more advanced safeguards, identity
thieves have stolen over $112 billion from consumers in the past six years.
An estimated 13.1 million people were victims of identity theft in 2015—often,
these individuals had no idea that their identity was compromised until
they had lost a significant amount of money. In order to protect yourself,
you should be aware of these signs that your identity may have been stolen.
Receiving Receipts for Purchases
If a thief has stolen your identity, he or she is likely using it to make
purchases under your name. The thief may apply for new credit cards, open
a charge card at a retail store, or even open a bank account. Sometimes,
the thief will order products from a store or retailer and forget to change
the saved address. As a result, you may begin receiving purchases, account
statements, or receipts for items or products that you did not buy. If
you receive such a statement, always call the company immediately and
confirm that you did not open the account.
Missing Emails or Statements
Similarly, you may begin missing credit card account statements or bills.
If a thief steals your identity, he or she may change the address or the
email account associated with a credit card or bank account. Since you
are not receiving your statements, you may not notice any unauthorized charges.
Being Denied Credit
If you had relatively good credit and were denied on an application for
a credit card, home mortgage, or auto loan, it may be a sign that your
identity has been compromised. Identity thieves rarely pay for the bills
that they rack up in your name, and victims of identity theft often find
that their credit scores have dropped dramatically due to numerous new
open and overdue accounts.
Likewise, you may begin receiving collections calls for accounts that you
did not open. If a debt collector contacts you about an account you do
not recognize, you should request that the debt collector send you a written
statement of the account, including when it was opened and a transaction history.
Help for Victims
If you believe that you may be the victim of identity theft, you need to
take action immediately. The faster you act, the less damage may be done
to your credit.
The first thing you should do if you believe that you are the victim of
identity theft is run your credit report and look for any unauthorized
accounts. Contact the institutions that manage these accounts immediately
and report that you are a victim of identity theft. Shut down any open
accounts and cancel any open credit or debit cards. Next, change all of
your passwords to every online account that you have, including your online
banking password and your email password. You should also contact the
three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Finally, you should contact an experienced consumer rights attorney. The
attorneys at a firm like Loan Lawyers can help you repair your credit
and pursue the perpetrators of identity theft and other fraudulent actions.
To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how Loan Lawyers
can help you, contact our office today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).