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Signs of Identity Theft
Many people don't know they've become victims of identity theft until they're contacted by a financial institution. Don't rely on others to notify you that your information has been stolen. Know what to look for. Early detection can help limit the damage done by an identity thief.
Here are indicators that you may be a victim.
- You notice errors or unfamiliar transactions on your bank and/or credit card accounts.
- Your credit report includes unfamiliar accounts or charges.
- Your credit report contains inquiries made by businesses in response to applications for credit, loans, or services you didn't initiate.
- You receive collection notices or calls about a debt that isn't yours.
- You have a good credit rating, but are denied credit in response to an application.
- Your checks are refused by merchants.
- Bills, statements, or other expected mail or email doesn't arrive.
- You get bills for accounts you didn't open or medical services you didn't receive.
- Your health insurance responds to your legitimate medical claim with a notice that your benefits limit was reached.
- Your medical records report a condition you don't have.
- You are notified by the IRS that you have income from an employer unknown to you or that more than one tax return was filed with your Social Security Number.
- You are notified of a data breach at a company that involves your information.
A data breach is any instance in which secure information has been released or stolen intentionally or unintentionally. The organization that exposed or lost your information will notify you and should explain your rights and options. Your state may provide additional rights.
The steps you should take depend on the type of information that was lost or stolen. In general, you may choose to do one or more of the following:
- monitor all bank and other accounts for suspicious activity.
- change all passwords, PINs, or user names associated with compromised accounts.
- order a copy of your credit report.
- place a fraud alert and/or a credit freeze on your credit file.
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