The thought of having their identity stolen is a big concern for most Americans. The fear is unsurprising, given that it’s one of the most serious criminal threats — and is only growing. Last year alone, $43 billion was lost to identity theft and fraud, with 40 million Americans affected. There are ways however, to keep on top of the threat, ways to check if your identity has been stolen — and warning signs to look out for.
How to Check if Someone Is Using Your Identity
Be sure to follow these three best practices to stay ahead of identity thieves:
- Stay on top of bills: Know what you owe and when it’s due. If you stop receiving a bill, and it wasn’t you that made this change, this could be a red flag that someone has changed your billing address. Similarly, if you receive new bills, which you didn’t sign up for, an identity thieve may be using your personally identifiable information (PII).
- Bank statements: You should regularly review your bank account statements. If you see a transaction that you don’t recognize, it could be a sign that your identity has been stolen.
- Credit report: You should also check your credit regularly. To do so you’ll need to request a report from the three credit-reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Your credit score isn’t enough to ascertain if you’re identity has been stolen; you’ll need the full report to check for unknown accounts and transactions, and to look for any false information. For a guide on how to do this, head over here!
Further top tips:
- Check your health insurance records and tax return information
- Make sure you always have access to sensitive online accounts
- Watch out for spam emails, texts, and mail
- Check for physical mail and stolen trash
- Always know where your ID, credit cards, and other sensitive documents are kept
- Check your “mySocial Security” account for signs of fraud
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have also put together a handy guide to different identity theft scenarios:
Seven Warning Signs of Identity Theft
- A tax return is filed under your name without your authorization.
- Mail is addressed to your home but to another person.
- Debt collectors get in touch regarding accounts you don’t recognize.
- Your information was leaked in a data breach.
- You are billed for medical services you never used.
- You spot a new account in your name that you didn’t open.
- The IRS get in touch to inform you that you’re Social Security card is being used fraudulently.
Protecting Your Identity and Personal Info
Identity theft can have serious consequences. The best thing you can do is a) have reliable cybersecurity protection, and b) ensure you will find out ASAP in the event of being affected. We would encourage readers to head over to our new FREE ID Protection platform, which has been designed to meet these challenges.
With ID Protection, you can:
- Check to see if your data (email, number, password, social media) has been exposed in a leak,
- Secure your social media accounts with our Social Media Account Monitoring tool, with which you’ll receive a personal report,
- Receive the strongest tough-to-hack password suggestions from our advanced AI.
All this for free — why not give it a go today? As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a secure 2023!
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