6 top identity theft warning signs

 May 1, 2020     UFG Insurance    Business   Personal 
Identity theft warning signs

Personally identifiable information (PII): ever heard of it?

In the digital age, some say “data is the new oil.” Think about that for a second. 

Identify theft is one of the fastest growing crimes that impacts millions of Americans every year. The more digital our lives become, the more opportunities there are for hackers to steal your identity—especially online.  

In order to help prevent people from stealing your identity, we must stay a step ahead. Here are six top identity theft warning signs you should be on the lookout for. 

1. Unfamiliar activity or charges on your credit card 

Seeing unfamiliar activity on your credit card? Immediately contact the card issuer to alert them of the charges. They will most likely close the card and issue you a new account while helping address the mysterious charges. Some regularly check over their credit card statements once a week—plus it’s easy to do this in mobile apps. Better safe than sorry! 

Tip: look for small, unknown charges first. Criminals typically test an account with small charges first to see if a fraudulent charge will go through. 

2. Unable to file taxes

Tax fraud is always a hot topic come tax season. One of the more popular examples is tax-related ID theft where thieves file taxes using your information to cash in on your refund and direct it to their own personal account. In the end, this actually prevents you from filing your own taxes. If this happens, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as soon as possible. 

Tip: the IRS will never call you on the phone. They correspond with tax payers primarily through letters in the mail (USPS). If you receive a phone call from the IRS regarding your taxes, it’s more than likely fraud. 

3. Missing monthly bills 

Another warning sign of identity theft is if your monthly utility bills go missing. Sometimes identity thieves will change the mailing address of their victims. While contacting utility company customer service departments may take time, it’s time well spent if you notice you’re not getting bills in the mail and haven’t signed up for paperless billing. It’s always important to keep track of all bills and banking and credit card correspondence in case you need to remedy an identity theft situation. 

4. Information exposed in a data breach

Identity thieves could commit fraud by using your data that was exposed in an organization’s data breach. In some cases, this is how criminals get access to your credit cards, passwords, social security numbers and more. The big thing here, as with most remedies for identify theft, is to act quickly and contact necessary parties to prevent your information from being more widely used. 

5. Warrant out for your arrest 

If you haven’t done anything illegal lately, a warrant being out for your arrest is a big warning sign of identity theft. Someone may be using your name and information like social security number to commit crimes. In this instance, you may want to contact your local law enforcement agency to clear your name and explain the situation. Of course, you’ll be able to clear your name as you can provide fingerprints, an alibi and other information. Most importantly, remain calm knowing that in the end law enforcement officials will figure it out. 

6. New credit cards being open under your name 

Have you received an email, app notification or letter in the mail regarding a credit card that you didn’t apply for? Unfortunately that most likely means you’re experiencing identity theft. If you have received any suspicious notifications, make sure you contact your bank/card issuer as soon as possible. They should be able to help rectify the situation or explain when or how the new account was opened.

If you feel that your identity is at risk due to any of the above situations, be sure to take action quickly.

 

The information provided is for informational purposes only. Every attempt is made to ensure that the information is accurate; however, it is not intended to replace professional advice. For more information, see Disclaimers & Other Legal Documents.