Warning signs of identity theft

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What Do Thieves Do With Your Information?

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

Clues That Someone Has Stolen Your Information

Retail & Shopping

  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • Merchants claim you owe them money for items or services you never purchased.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Merchandise arrives at your home that you didn’t order. 
  • You get bills or statements in the mail for new accounts you haven't opened.
  • You get increased direct mail or phone solicitations for expensive items - This could be the result of new high-ticket activity run on your account.
Credit and Subscriptions

  • You haven't received one or more of your regular monthly bills or mail is missing. Thieves can file a change of address to reroute your mail or steal mail straight from your mailbox to retrieve important personal information such as account numbers and financial statements.
  • You notice unfamiliar charges on your credit or debit cards. This could be for any size purchase as well a for a very small purchase to make sure your card is still active before selling it on an underground site.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • You are denied credit when applying for financing or new credit cards, even though your credit is good.
  • You get a new credit card in the mail that you didn’t apply for.
  • Your credit score is rising - a rising credit score can mean fraudsters are trying to extend credit in your name.
  • An employer denies you a job based on a bad background check, even though you know your record is clean.
Online Accounts

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You can't log on to your email or social media accounts because your password has been changed by criminals who have gained access to the account and all your personal information stored in it.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
Medical & Health

  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use or for medical procedures you haven't had done.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit you have already had a procedure done.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • You can’t get coverage under a new plan because your medical record lists a condition you don’t have.
  • You regularly receive treatment solicitations for health conditions you don’t have.
Government & Taxes

  • Tax refund check arrives before you file, you receive a tax transcript in the mail that you didn't request or the IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • Arrest warrants for crimes you didn’t commit. You may have been hacked by a fraudster who is committing crimes, traffic offenses and/or parking violations in your name.
  • You receive tax documents from an employer you never worked for. 
  • Your Social Security statement shows errors such as your reported earnings are inflated.

Next Steps:
  If your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.  Learn how.

Child Identity Theft

Identity theft on a child can go undiscovered for years. While parents may have a system of alerts and credit checks to protect their own credit, kids are easier targets. Identity theft on a child can go undiscovered for years. You may not become aware until your child is turned down for a job or loan due to a horrible credit history.

Signs that your child’s credit history has been compromised include:

  1. Being turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number.
  2. A notice from the IRS saying the child didn’t pay income taxes, or that the child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return
  3. Collection calls or bills addressed to your child for products or services you didn’t receive.
  4. Your child is denied a bank account or driver’s license.
  5. Credit card and loan offers addressed to your child.  Don’t immediately panic if you receive a credit card offer in your child’s name. Financial companies sometimes mistakenly send credit card offers to a minor but be on alert if you suddenly start receiving a lot of mail that would typically be for adults.

Learn more about Child Identity Theft