With approximately 16 million annual victims of identity theft, more and more people are asking this simple question. How can I tell if my personal, confidential information has been stolen?
Here are eight telltale signs that your personal information has been stolen.
Unauthorized charges on your credit card- If you review your credit card statements on a monthly basis, this is easiest telltale sign to identify. If you’ve gotten into a bad habit of just paying the invoice without reviewing your statement, now is the time to start verifying every change.
Missing Credit Card Statements- Your bank didn’t forget to mail your monthly credit card statement and it probably wasn’t lost in the mail. If you don’t receive your monthly statement, chances are it was stolen from your mailbox and the thief changed the address on your account so that the statement would come to him.
Receiving Credit Cards That You Did Not Apply For- If you open your mailbox and find a new credit card that you know you didn’t apply for, chances are someone has stolen your information and opened an account in your name.
Denied Credit Despite Your Good Credit Score-Although it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your credit score, it was good the last time you checked and you pay all your bills on time. So how can you suddenly be denied credit? Chances are someone has stolen your identity and they are wreaking havoc with your credit rating.
Credit Report Shows New Accounts Opened in Your Name-Chances are new credit cards that you didn’t apply for, won’t come to your home. But the new accounts show up when you access your credit report.
Dramatically Different Credit Scores From Different Bureaus-If your credit score varies 50 points or more from one credit bureau to another, this may be a sign that something is amiss. The reason for the differences in scores may be that someone opened an account in your name and it was reported to one credit bureau and not another.
ATM Card Codes Are Not Working-Although it can happen that you’re suddenly unable to input your four digit ATM code due to some brain cramp. But if you’re certain that you’re entering the correct code, then someone else may have changed the code without your knowledge.
Getting irate calls from debt collectors for payments that you don’t owe- First, make sure that the item was not purchased by you, your spouse or another family member. Once you’ve verified that it is not your charge, get the relevant information from the debt collector so that you’ll have what you need to report the fraudulent charges.
The best way to avoid identity theft is to shred your confidential documents either using a machine or a service who shreds at your site.