Warning Signs of Identity Theft
Identity theft is a persistent problem and, unfortunately, cybercriminals show no signs of letting up. Statistically speaking, identity theft affects approximately 1 in 20 Americans every year. In 2019, 13 million U.S. consumers suffered identity fraud.
It’s important to be vigilant because the sooner identity theft is detected, the less damage ID thieves can do. The following list includes warning signs you may be a victim of identity theft or financial fraud.
Unusual Withdrawals from Bank Accounts
Anytime you see an unusual withdrawal from any of your bank accounts you or a joint account holder didn’t make, this is a huge red flag. While a bank may make the occasional (very rare) error, chances are better a thief is pilfering your account.
Credit Standing Takes a Plunge
If you’ve maintained good credit and it takes a sudden plunge, consider this to be a warning sign. Once a thief gets a hold of your personal information, they can then open credit accounts in your name and go on a spending spree without paying the bill. If you check your credit report and find unfamiliar accounts or charges, this is a clear sign your identity has been compromised. Gone unchecked, within a few months, you’ll most likely find debt collectors begin to call you about debts you don’t recognize.
Small Charges on Your Credit Card
Any small and unusual credit card charge should be viewed with suspicion. Identity thieves will often test the proverbial waters by making very small charges with your credit card to see if it’s detected. If they sense a green light, they’ll then go for the gusto and start making large purchases, often maxing credit limits out.
Bills and Other Mail Go Missing
If regularly scheduled mail stops arriving, this could mean someone has stolen your identity. What thieves often do is steal their victim’s mail and then change the mailing address to be rerouted to them. Once they do this, they begin to collect other key pieces of your personal information to gain the information necessary to open new accounts in your name. Alternatively, if you start to receive strange bills, this is also a red flag.
Problems with Medical Providers and Health Plans
If you begin to receive bills for medical services you didn’t seek, this is another warning sign. It means there is a possibility someone used your identity information when they sought treatment. Additionally, if your health insurance plan starts to reject your legitimate medical claims this should be addressed ASAP. This is especially true if claims are rejected because your medical records show a condition you don’t have or your benefits have been maxed out, it could signal someone has been using your health insurance for their own purposes.
IRS Says You Already Filed
If you file your annual tax return and the IRS notifies you one has already been filed in your name and SSN, this is a key indicator someone is using your identity information to get a refund. Additionally, if they say you have income from an employer you never worked for, this is another red flag and should be investigated immediately.
Identity theft is an ongoing issue we all face. For financial advice and to learn more about how to protect yourself and your accounts from cybercriminals, give the team at 1st Community Credit Union a call at 888-706-1228.
« Return to "Blog"