5 red flags of identity theft
Authored by a Symantec employee
In the dark web, there is a big demand for stolen information that can be used to commit identity theft. Criminal outfits specializing in identity theft will go to great lengths to get their hands on your personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank accounts, credit card numbers, or date of birth.
What do identity thieves do with your information?
Whether identity thieves acquire your personal information through a data breach or more individualized tactics, once they have your personal information your identity, finances, and reputation could be at risk.
Identity thieves could commit fraud by running up charges on your credit cards, opening new credit card accounts, and getting medical treatments using your identity. The list goes on.
Sometimes a thief could file a tax return in your name and prevent you from filing your taxes and collecting your refund. In extreme cases, a criminal can give your name to the police during an arrest.
5 signs of identity theft
There are some clues you can look for when your identity has been stolen.
1. Your bank statement doesn’t look right, or your checks bounce.
Even a small discrepancy on your bank account summary or credit card statement could be a red flag. Criminals sometimes make small fraudulent charges to test an account to see if a charge will go through. View your accounts regularly online and contact your bank or credit card company if you notice any suspicious charges.
2. Your bills are missing, or you receive mysterious bills.
Sometimes identity thieves steal their victim’s mail by changing their mailing address. They gather information from your mail and piece them all together to open new accounts in your name. Sometimes identity thieves purchase goods in your name and obtain a credit card in your name. It’s advisable to keep track of all your bills and bank correspondence in case you need to remediate these fraudulent charges.
3. You get calls from debt collectors.
It is possible that someone has used your name to rack up debts if creditors are hounding you about unpaid bills you know nothing about. Check your credit report for unfamiliar accounts or charges.
4. Your medical bill doesn’t add up.
If you get a medical bill for a service you didn’t receive or your medical claim is rejected because you have already reached your benefits limit unbeknownst to you, it is likely something is not right.
5. You are unable to file taxes because someone has already filed a tax return in your name.
Criminals have found sneakier ways to cash in on your tax refund. Criminals file taxes using your SSN, preventing you from filing taxes. They channel the refund into their account.
Sometimes people with compromised identity don’t get these telltale signs of identity theft. They could go for months or years without a clue while someone out there is harming their credit and finances. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect your identity. The unique combination of digital security by Norton Security and identity theft protection by LifeLock† redefines what digital safety means in a connected world. These are just a few of the precautions one can take to help protect against identity theft.
Disclaimers and references:
† No one can prevent all identity theft.
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