Identity theft is one of the most common cyber-crimes. Victims of identity theft suffer from these acts both financially and personally. What’s even worse is the fact that everyone is a potential target of identity theft, no matter how much money they might have.
Everyone who has a social security number, credit card, bank accounts, online accounts, or a SSN is a potential target. Even dead people have been targets of identity theft and children as well. There are many ways in which someone’s information can be abused and the consequences can be huge.
This is why people must have more awareness about this issue and learn to detect signs that might suggest they have been victims of such a crime. The sooner a person is able to recognize that they have been the victim of a crime, the less the damage there will be and the sooner they can take steps to get their information back.
Getting debt collector calls for your accounts
One of the most common first signs of identity theft is getting strange debt collector calls. In most cases debt collectors don’t start calling people until a couple of months have passed, and by then a lot of damage could be done.
If you receive a call about an opened account you know you didn’t open, make sure that you instantly let the agency know that it wasn’t you who opened the account. There are two options: the call is fake and they are trying to get more information from you that they can use against you, or your accounts have been opened by someone else.
You instantly have to get a credit report and see if there are, in fact, accounts opened by “you”. If there are, contact your bank to start an investigation. If not, make sure to place a security freeze or a fraud alert on your credit report, so that you can prevent similar unauthorized accounts in the future.
Receiving notice about a flagged account
One of the most common ways cyber thieves like to steal information is through phishing. In this situation the victim commonly receives an email supposedly from their bank, informing them about some sort of irregularity and strange activity on their accounts.
It could also say that there was a security issue or something like that. The bottom line is that victims are required to input their information to make sure that everything is OK. If you receive such an email or call, make sure that you first contact your credit union or your bank and talk to them about this “issue”.
If they cannot confirm such a problem or any message sent to you, then someone is trying to get your information.
Finding accounts you don’t know on your credit report
First of all, let’s mention that getting credit reports is generally a smart idea not only for getting a better understanding of your financial situation, but also for spotting any signs of theft as well. One of the most important things to look for in your credit report are accounts.
If you see an account that you don’t remember opening, make sure to check what this is about and don’t assume that you, your credit card provider or credit bureau have made a mistake. This is one of the common signs indicating that you have been a victim of identity theft.
Ignoring this kind of account is the worst thing you could do, even if the payment history on it is not negative. Contact your bank to see what they know about the account, start a credit report dispute to have it removed and make sure to contact the company that reported this account and let them know that it’s a fake.
These are the three most common signs of identity theft. Everyone should be aware of them, no matter if they work in an online business, bank, or at the grocery store. Today everyone is online and this is why the chances of identity theft occurring are equal for everyone. Additionally, one of the most general tricks that many hackers try to use is to send fake bills to people. Don’t pay them and make sure to report them.