Recognizing Identity Theft
Once thieves have your identity they can wreak havoc on your personal finances. They can drain your bank accounts, open fraudulent accounts in your name, and use your identity to purchase cars and other items. Additionally, they may run up account balances on your existing charge cards, get medical treatment on your health insurance, they have even been known to give your name to a police officer during an arrest.
How do you know if someone has stolen your Identity? There are some clues and here are a few of them:
- Withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You quit receiving expected bills in your mail.
- Unfamiliar charges on your credit report.
- You get medical bills for services you didn't have.
- Debt collectors try to collect debts you're not aware of and didn't make.
- IRA notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or you have income from someone who isn't your employer.
- You're notified of a data breach at a company you do business or have an account with.
- Your wallet or purse was stolen, and you have lots of important information in it such as:
- Social Security card
- Driver’s License
- Health care provider card
- Bank information, including debit and credit cards
- Login information – such as Ids and passwords
- Children’s personal information
Once you realize you're a victim there are many steps that you can take to begin to correct the damage that has been done. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a publication: Taking charge- what to do if Your Identity is Stolen, that can be obtained for free. This publication will guide you through the recovery process. The FTC also provides checklists and worksheets to help you with this process at www.IdentityTheft.gov and you can also report Identity Theft to the FTC at 1-877-438-4338. The major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion also offer advice on protecting your identity and the recovery process.
The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Citizens State Bank and its affiliates, and Citizens State Bank is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of any information contained in this article or items hyperlinked within. This is for informational purposes and is no way intended to provide legal advice.