3 surefire signs that someone has stolen your identity
Your credit card information is valuable to scammers, but there’s one thing they want most: your personal information. Tap or click here to see 10 accounts more valuable to cybercriminals than your credit card.
Identity theft is a growing concern, with more than 16.4 million people falling victim to it in 2014. This figure skyrocketed to 49 million people in 2020, resulting in staggering losses of $56 billion. . Unfortunately, most victims realize too late that their identity has been stolen, making it all the more difficult to regain control.
Fortunately, there are a few signs to watch out for so you can act quickly and minimize the damage. Read on to find out how to spot identity theft and what you can do about it.
1. A credit card opened in your name
There are few things worse than receiving a bill for something you didn’t buy. It could be a billing error or something more sinister like identity theft. A telltale sign that someone has stolen your identity is opening a credit card or service in your name.
These scenarios are incredibly stressful, but there are things you can do:
- Check your bank statements regularly – Look for any unusual activity. If you see anything suspicious, report it to your bank.
- Review your credit report – Check it for accounts you haven’t opened or requests you don’t recognize. A new credit card, personal loan, or car loan will appear as a new account. A new mobile phone plan or a new utility like water, gas or electricity will appear as a request
- Configure alerts – Sign up to receive text or email alerts from your credit card or bank whenever there is a new transaction. This could help you spot unauthorized or fraudulent activity on your accounts.
2. Tax Identity Theft or Stolen Social Security Number
No one likes filing their taxes. But it can be even more stressful when the IRS notifies you of another tax return. You only need to submit one tax return to the IRS, so it could indicate tax identity theft if there are more than one.
- Tax identity theft – A notice from the IRS that there is more than one tax return filed in your name could be a sign of tax impersonation. Contact the IRS immediately to find out what is going on.
- Monitor Unauthorized Jobs – A notice that you have income from an employer you don’t work for is a sign that someone stole your social security number so they could find a job.
3. Unemployment benefits
Unemployment claims have increased during the pandemic. The same goes for fraudulent unemployment claims. Unfortunately, you will only be aware of this once you have received notice from the National Unemployment Benefits office. Here’s what to do if you receive a notification:
If you discover signs that someone is misusing your personal information, learn how to handle it on IdentityTheft.gov.
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