Learn the signs of identity theft

Learn the signs of identity theft

1) You are not receiving your bills and other mail. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks. Follow up with creditors if your bills do not arrive on time, and be sure that your address is up-to-date in their database.

2) You are receiving credit cards that you did not apply for.

3) Being denied credit, or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high interest rate, for no apparent reason.

4) Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn't buy.

How can you tell if you are a victim?

If someone is using money from accounts that are in your name, your credit report will show all of the transactions made on these accounts. The three United States nationwide credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—are now obliged to give consumers free credit reports upon their request. And since 50% of victims realized that their identity was stolen upon checking their credit reports, it is a necessity to look through your credit reports frequently. You only need to contact one of the three consumer reporting companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. Check your credit reports regularly!

Read your reports carefully and look for transactions that you can not explain and that are unfamiliar to you. If you do find fraudulent or inaccurate information, ask them to remove it. Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially during the first year after you discover the identity theft, to ensure that no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

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