Identity theft is a common and serious type of fraud where someone attempts to claim to be another person or use their credentials for financial gain. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Sentinel received approximately 4.7 million consumer complaint reports in 2020, and nearly half of those were due to fraud. You can limit your risks of being a victim. But what are some signs of identity theft?
Missing Financial Statements in the Mail
Banks and credit card companies push for their customers to sign up for digital statements to save the companies money and provide easier and instant access to their clients. But digital statements aren’t for everyone, and scammers know this. Lower-income households, people without broadband internet, and the elderly who either aren’t tech-savvy or simply prefer hard copies of their financial records are often targeted by criminals. And yes, according to the United States Code 18 Section 1708, taking someone’s federal mail is still a felony. However, someone looking to make a quick buck is often willing to take the risk.
Strange or Unexplained Bank or Credit Transactions
An obvious sign you’ve been a victim of fraud is that your bank or credit card accounts contain transactions you don’t recognize. It’s easy to overlook the monetary differences if you don’t check your balances regularly. So be sure to keep a record for yourself or check your online and physical statements often to be certain you actually made the charges. If discrepancies arise, contact your bank or another financial service as soon as possible. Most of the time, they can confirm the mistake quickly, cancel the charges, reimburse your account, and even send you new cards to avoid future problems. But you have to act quickly.
You’re Getting Sent Unsolicited Credit Cards
There are over 1 billion credit cards in use throughout the US, and almost 3 billion in use globally. And the one thing credit card companies have in common is that they all are in business to make money. So they’re not likely to simply send off cards without first receiving a request and then thoroughly checking and verifying financial eligibility. If you receive a credit card in the mail that you don’t recall applying for, it’s likely a scam. Before simply cutting it and tossing it away, call the company number listed in the paperwork and ask why it was sent. You may have forgotten you applied. But chances are, the company is either trying to sell you something you don’t want, or someone else may have hacked into your financial records and intended to steal the card out of your mail.
New and Unusual Credit Issues
According to Equifax, there are several types of identity fraud, but most of them involve potential or eventual financial loss to the victim. Always pay attention to your credit information since it can easily provide signs of identity theft such as:
- Your credit card is suddenly declined but you’ve paid the balance or are sure it can cover the charges.
- You’re denied new credit when you shouldn’t be.
- You’re getting mail and calls from debt collectors on bills you know you don’t owe.
- There are new cards, loans, or accounts on your credit report that you don’t recognize.
The good news is that fixing identity theft is possible, and you don’t have to go it alone. Give us a call, and we’ll help you open up a fraud investigation.