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Has My Identity Been Stolen?

The fact is that identity thieves are everywhere. Stealing your identity is nothing personal to them: it's just a way to make a living. We can either cry about this situation or take steps to protect ourselves. There are simple protective steps like signing up for identity protection services, but even these methods are imperfect.

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Thieves have become so sophisticated that they can skim your credit card of off the reader at your favorite local store. They can also be standing next to you on the bus and use new technology to read your card from several feet away. More sophisticated operations just buy your data from the black market where it was leaked by a successful hacker who broke through the security safeguards at your favorite insurance company, store, or bank.

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For this reason, we have to actively monitor the signs that our identity has been stolen:

Bad Bills

Check your credit card and bank statements, if there are any bills for services or goods that you didn't order, then it is a sure sign that someone has stolen your credit card and is running rampant. That is unless, you share that credit card with your spouse! Then it might just be them taking liberties.

New Statements or Cards Appear

Have you gotten statements for a credit card that you didn't sign up for? Have you gotten a new card sent to you that you never applied for? This is a sure sign that someone has compromised your identity in order to get a new card.

Debt Collection Calls

Are you getting collection calls about a debt that you don't recognize? It is possible that someone succeeded in taking out a loan in your name.

Errors On Your Credit Report

Are there any strange entries on your credit report? It is possible that it is just a mistake that can easily be cleared up, but it is also possible that the credit agencies have pinpointed an identity thief in action on your credit report.

Missing Mail or Email

Have the statements from one of your accounts stopped coming? It is possible that a thief has redirected your mail for that account in order to hide their tracks.

What To Do?

If anything looks strange, then investigate it immediately. Your bank or credit card will provide steps you need to follow in order to clean up the situation. Also, credit monitoring services are well versed in this type of work, so signing up with one of them could be a good idea.