Identity theft isn’t as apparent as many may think. It starts out small. Maybe you realize you’re no longer getting your paper bills in the mail, or there’s a strange medical bill that shows up at your house. Before you know it, there are new lines of credit in your name that you didn’t open or even a large purchase that has been made. For this reason, it is important to understand early identity theft warning signs. Detecting these may mean that your personal information may have been compromised and is already being used for illicit reasons.
At Legal Shred, we want to help ensure your private data never makes it into the hands of fraudsters. But you simply never know! Using professional shredding services is a critical step in securely managing and disposing of sensitive waste. Still, you should be aware of the warning signs and spring into action immediately when you realize you may be a victim.
Here are some important things to look for.
Your Payment Isn’t Accepted
If you’re checking out at a retail location and your credit or debit card is being denied as a payment source when you’re well aware there should be a balance in the accounts, this is a huge warning sign that someone may be using your identity. If banks and creditors catch this early enough, they may shut down all access to your money until they can speak to you and verify you are the correct contact. In worse case scenarios, funds may have been totally drained in the hack, and working to rebuild and restore from identity theft may be the only next option.
Always be sure to check your bank statements and stay abreast of banking activity especially all withdrawals using your financial institution’s app. If you noticed even small debits that are not familiar (sometimes fraudsters will start with a simple $1 withdrawal before beginning an attack) be sure to raise a red flag and get an immediate freeze on your funds.
Something is Off on Your Credit Report
Another warning sign that you’ve been compromised is when strange new accounts or debts start appearing on your credit report. It’s critical to look over your report from time to time to ensure debts that shouldn’t be there are not. If you notice debt collectors sending you letters or calling you about debts that are not yours, even if the name on the bill is different, be sure to investigate immediately.
You Get a Notice About a Breach
It’s all too common now to get notices from companies you’ve done business with stating there has been a breach of data on their systems that had your information on it. While many businesses will do right by customers and offer additional security screening services to protect them should the stolen data be used later for an attack, it is your responsibility to start monitoring and being proactive about protecting your personal information if you’ve become part of a larger attack.
Whether the signs laid out in this list are apparent or you have any suspicions at all that your information may be compromised, it’s important that you visit IdentityTheft.gov so that you can report it and find ways to recover from identity theft.
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