Every year millions of lives are financially hijacked by a stolen identity. This serious internet crime is on the rise and will continue to be a serious potential risk for all internet users. Listed below are the top 7 signs to be aware that someone is using your identity without your knowledge.
Signs of Identity Theft
- Your rental or loan application gets rejected.
- You know you have good credit and work hard to keep it that way. Surprisingly your rental, loan, or credit card application gets rejected, and you are denied on your request. This is an excellent time to take a look at your credit report.
- Your health insurance company denies your claim. You have a legitimate health claim, and your health insurance company rejects it because they say you have reached your health plan limit.
- You know this is not possible based on the claims you have submitted. Many identity thieves will use their victim’s health plan to collect money or narcotic prescriptions for a chronic illness they don’t even have.
- You are receiving a bill for things you don’t recognize. If you are getting mail from bans or businesses you don’t do business with, it is time to investigate. These thieves steal everything and affect everything part of your financial life. They use your address for you to foot the bill.
- Mail is missing from your mailbox. They use your mail as a way to collect your private information.
- You start getting bombarded with collection calls. This is a visible sign that someone is using your identity to charge up a storm under your name.
- You have withdrawals showing up on your bank statement that you did not do.
10 Ways Thieves Can Steal Your Identity and How to Prevent It
Credit Card Theft
Most people use credit cards everywhere. This means your credit card passes through countless hands and offers many opportunities for thieves to steal your credit card number. If possible, stick to terminals that allow you to swipe your card, and don’t let your card out of your sight.
Shopping online can be a precarious business. Before you make your next online purchase, make sure the website is secure. Make sure the URL starts with “https”.
Phishing is an email-based scam in which a thief poses as a real organization, agency, or company. A phishing email prompts the reader to enter personal information such as addresses, credit cards, and bank numbers. Sometimes, the email will even lead you to a fake website where you fill out a fake form with all of your information. If something feels strange in an email and they request too much information, do not click on the links. Listen to your gut.
Sophisticated thieves hack into a variety of computer systems and steal credit card and bank information. Most organizations alert their customers to a data breach as soon as possible. If you receive this type of message, confirm if your data is compromised and then close your account.
We are all careful when typing in your PIN the ATM or your credit card numbers; there is always a chance someone is standing over your shoulder and looking at your personal information. Stop shoulder surfers in their tracks by covering your screen with your hand when entering your numbers.
Skimming happens when an identity thief installs an additional device on an existing ATM or credit card reader. The device can read your credit card and ATM information. If you notice an oddly shaped credit card reader, do not use the machine.
Fraudulent Credit Reports
If identity thieves want access to your complete credit report, you might pretend to be your landlord or employer to get a free copy. If you suspect someone has tampered with your credit report, notify the credit bureau immediately.
Pre-texting is one of the sneakiest methods of stolen identity. Thieves call banks, utility companies, etc. under pretenses and steal your personal information. If you see a new account activity that you haven’t initiated, contact the company right away.
The thieves have no problem diving through your trash in search of credit card and bank statements. Shred your mail before discarding it into the dumpster.
Some thieves skip that trash and go right to your mailbox and steal your mail. If you suspect this may be happening, secure your mailbox or get a P.O. Box.
There are many ways that your identity can be stolen. Be observant and take the precautions listed above. If you feel you are a victim of identity theft, contact Social Catfish for assistance in tracking down the culprit and resolving the situation.