If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that the mere thought of our identity being stolen is terrifying. Add to that the fact that most people aren’t familiar with what signs to look out for when it comes to spotting identity theft, and things become even scarier. If you’re one of those people, keep on reading to learn some telltale signs of identity theft and what you can do to protect yourself.
How to spot identity theft
Below are some of the things you can do to spot/look out for identity theft.
- Look for charges/bills you don’t recognize. Additionally, if you stop receiving a regular bill, it could mean that somebody has changed your billing address.
- Keep an eye on your bank statements. Look for any withdrawals, transfers, or payments you don’t recognize.
- Watch out for your mail going missing or new, unexpected mail.
- Regularly review your credit reports for suspicious activity. You are entitled to one free credit report from the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Click here to learn how to get a free credit report (it’s easy!).
- Be wary of unusual tax documents. Identity thieves love to file fraudulent tax returns in people’s names and steal their tax refunds. If you receive any correspondence about a tax return that you haven’t filed, it could be a sign that this has happened to you.
- Be cautious of unexpected SMS/email verification codes because it could mean that someone is trying to access your account.
- Monitor your social media accounts for suspicious activity. Trend Micro’s new (and 100% free!) tool, ID Protection, can monitor your social media accounts (Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, Google) and alert you if any suspicious activity is detected.
What to do if you suspect identity theft
If you think you might be the victim of identity theft, here’s what you should do:
- Let the companies/banks know. Call any companies/banks that you know the identity thief was in contact with.
- Contact at least one credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) and place a fraud alert. Whichever agency you contact is required to inform the other two, but reaching out to all three personally may help make them all aware as soon as possible.
- Report the crime to the FTC and get a recovery plan. You can report identity theft to the FTC online and get a personalized recovery plan in the process.
- File a police report. Although the police may not pursue the matter, it’s still a good idea to report it — if only to say you did so in the future.
- Request a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies to get the full picture. However, please note that you may not want to request your credit reports too quickly because creditors may only report to the credit reporting agencies on a monthly basis, so it may be advisable to wait at least 30 days.
Get Alerted if Your Personal Info Is Leaked
The dark web and underground internet forums are two places identity thieves commonly go to find people’s leaked data. But how can you know if your data is ever posted there? The answer is easy: Trend Micro ID Security.
If your personal info is ever compromised on the internet or dark web, with ID Security, you’ll know about it! The app — available for iOS and Android — can scan the internet and dark web for your data (email addresses, credit card numbers, Social Security number, and lots more) around the clock. If it’s ever unfortunately leaked, you will be sent an alert straight away!
Claim your 30-day free trial today and take advantage of these great features and more:
- Personal Data Protection Score — Learn what information is potentially at risk and receive personalized suggestions to help you resolve any issues.
- Social Media Account Protection — Be instantly alerted if your Facebook or Twitter account’s data is leaked by cybercriminals.
- 24/7 Comprehensive Data Monitoring — ID Security can scan the internet and the dark web for all your personal information including Social Security number, email addresses, bank account numbers, and lots more.
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