Identity Theft

 

Am I a Victim of Identity Theft?


Using the techniques to prevent identity thef, you will become well-protected. But what if some really ingenious thief has found a way over all your fortifications? You can still protect yourself by catching it early and blocking the thief before much or any damage is done. The following steps create an “early warning system” that will help you detect identity theft:

Identity Theft Early Warning System
Keep track of credit card payments
Keep all credit card receipts and make sure they reconcile with your monthly statement
Alert creditors immediately if you see any incorrect charges, and follow up in writing, return receipt requested
Check the charges on  your other bills
Be alert for extra charges on your phone bill and other consumer accounts (cable provider, Internet service provider) that could indicate someone besides you is using your accounts.
Know when your bills come due
If the bill doesn’t arrive on time then you know that something might be wrong.
If any mail is missing, contact your local post office. Someone might have requested a change of address in your name to divert bills for fraudulent charges, bank statements, and other documents that could clue you in that your identity has been stolen.
Monitor your credit reports regularly
Make sure you recognize all the accounts listed
Check that the balances are in line with your records
Ensure no institution has made inquiries on your credit report for credit you didn’t apply for
All other information, including employers, addresses, ect. is accurate
Monitor your bank statements
Make sure there’s no suspicious activity or inexplicable withdrawals (large or small)
Be alert to unexplained changes to bank access codes
Guard your personal information
Never give out account information, passwords, your Social Security Number or other sensitive information over the Web or over the phone
If you think there is a legitimate problem with one of  your accounts, contact the company yourself, using the phone number on your statement or their Web address, not a link from an e-mail.
Act immediately
If your driver’s license, passport, and/or credit cards are lost or stolen, if you notice discrepancies in your bills or if you start getting phone calls from creditors you’ve never heard of, take action


What do you do if you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft? We'll show you in the next section.

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