Even with your best efforts to secure your personal information, it’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate the threat of identity theft. The bad thing about ID theft is that many people don’t even realize that their personal information has been compromised until weeks, sometimes even months or years after the fact.
If you’ve experienced any of the following scenarios, you should consider yourself at risk.
If your personal belongings are lost or stolen, you should assume that your identity is at risk and act accordingly. Your most vulnerable belongings include:
- Your wallet
- Your purse
- Personal files at work
- Your checkbook
- Your passport
- Payroll check stubs
- Your briefcase
- Your laptop
- The contents of your glove compartment
Keep track of the monthly or yearly bills, statements, or other sensitive items that you expect to receive in the mail. Should any of that mail fail to arrive, contact the sender, as it could be an early warning signal that your mail is being intercepted. Be especially sure to watch for missing:
- Bank statements
- Credit card bills
- New credit or debit cards
- Boxes of new checks
- Tax forms, such as W-2s and 1099s
- Tax refund checks
- Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement
- Social Security checks or other income
Unauthorized Purchases or New Unfamiliar Accounts
Go over all of your bills, statements, and accounts carefully each month and check your credit report at least once a year and get your free triple credit score from GoFreeCredit.com. If you find that any unauthorized financial transactions have been made in your name, you’ve probably become a victim of identity theft. Be sure to take the appropriate actions if you discover or experience any of the following:
- Unexpected charges. You receive a credit card bill that includes purchases you don’t recognize, or your credit card is unexpectedly declined when you try to make a purchase. ID thieves may have run your balance up to its limit.
- Unauthorized transactions. You discover withdrawals you didn’t make or checks you didn’t write on your bank statement, or your attempt to withdraw cash or pay by check fails due to insufficient funds. Your account could be sitting on empty.
- Unfamiliar accounts. Your credit report contains accounts that you don’t recognize.
Other BIG RED FLAGS of Identity Theft
If you don’t catch the early signs of identity theft, several signs are certain to arise eventually and will definitely get your attention. For example:
- Calls from collection agents. You receive calls from collection agents for unfamiliar outstanding debts.
- Attempts at repossession. A lender attempts to repossess something from you that you don’t actually own. As funny as this sounds, it isn’t …
- The IRS contacts you. The IRS sends you a letter stating that you’ve filed duplicate returns or haven’t reported all of your earnings.
- Your loan or credit application is refused. You are unexpectedly turned down for credit or a loan due to a poor credit rating.
- You are arrested. You are arrested as a result of an outstanding warrant of which you were unaware and for which you are not responsible.
The price of freedom
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Make certain you’re staying on top of everything related to your personal information so you don’t have to endure the nightmare of identity theft.
- Getting your 3 free credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com
- Getting your free triple credit score from GoFreeCredit.com or from Credit Sesame.
- Doing what I do, protect your identity by using: