3 Signs You’ve Had Your Identity Stolen
While our reliance on the internet has provided a lot of benefits across our day-to-day lives, it’s promoted a lot of potential issues as well. One problem that is really on the rise in the theft of personal data and information from across the web.
It can be an entirely disruptive experience to have your identity stolen, but it’s something that more and more people are running into as we port more of our information over to the online world. Having your identity stolen can ruin your finances and plans for the future if you aren’t careful.
The scary thing about identity theft is that it can be occurring without you even recognizing it. You’ll need to get familiar with the telltale signs of this kind of theft so that you can recognize it when it might be happening to you.
What do you need to look out for? Read on.
1. Unauthorized Credit Activity
The number one giveaway sign of some sort of identity theft issues? Your credit card is reporting activity that you didn’t authorize yourself.
In most instances, the final goal of hackers looking to steal your identity online is to access your financial tools. Here, they can use your information and accounts to make their own purchases and line their own pockets with your hard-earned money.
If you can discover strange discrepancies early enough, you should be able to fight back against this kind of threat.
Often, hackers and identity theft criminals will make small changes to a person’s credit card before making any significant ones. This is intended to test your account, essentially. If these small, fraudulent charges go through without any issue, the hacker can feel more confident about moving on to bigger fish.
It’s a good idea to look at your credit card charges regularly to keep an eye out for this kind of behavior. If you do find fraudulent charges on your credit card, you should reach out to your card provider to notify them as soon as possible.
Your credit provider will likely have a number of steps in place, including changing your passwords and issuing you a new card, that can help to kick the hacker out and re-protect your account.
You’ll also want to alert the major credit bureaus to this occurrence so that they can place a fraud alert on your name and help to prevent future attacks from occurring. This will make it difficult for additional accounts to be opened under your name.
2. You Don’t Receive Expected Mail
One particularly nefarious move that many hackers engage in? Changing the address of a person’s mail so that they receive certain bills and privileged information instead.
If you haven’t been receiving certain bills or important pieces of mail over a series of weeks, it might not just be a coincidence. It might actually be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
Once criminals have these pieces of mail in their possession, they can use them to dig up additional personal information. It’s this information they might need to access more and more accounts under your name.
They might also use the personal information contained in your name to open new accounts as you around the web, purchasing new goods, and using your good name to make big moves.
The flip side can also be true, of course. If you start receiving bills in the mail for things you don’t remember purchasing, it can be a big sign that something is amiss. Make sure to trace these bills back to their source as soon as possible, as you may find that your identity has already been stolen.
You can also reach out to a lawyer for additional help handling the damages you’ve faced. You can read more at https://consumerprotection.net/new-york-city-identity-theft-lawyer/.
3. Issues Working With Federal Government
In some instances, you may only find out that someone has been stealing your identity when you decide to file your taxes or seek unemployment. While it is most common that criminals steal your information to shop online, others simply might assume your persona in order to make money from the government.
They might use your gathered personal information to apply for unemployment, but have these weekly payments funneled into their own personal accounts instead. They’ll be getting rich and you’ll be none the wiser, likely working away still at your own job.
It’s also possible that a criminal engages in what is known as tax refund fraud. This is when a criminal uses your SSN, date of birth, and other personal information in order to request your tax refund to their own account.
Not only would this rob you of the refund that you are owed and maybe counting on, but it would also disrupt your process of paying taxes. It can make it quite a headache to have to get through the process.
If you’ve begun to work with the federal government in some way but see evidence that makes it look like you’ve already done something, it might be a sign that someone has committed identity theft, with you as the victim.
While the government can help you to rectify this situation, it can still be a huge interruption to have to deal with.
Signs You’ve Had Your Identity Stolen
Having your identity stolen can be a terrifying and upsetting occurrence. It’s important to be able to recognize this threat as it occurs to help mitigate the damage done. The above are a few major signs to look out for.
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