While technology has made everything much more simplified, it certainly has its downsides. One of them includes the growing rise of identity theft.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft relates to the illegal usage of a person’s private information. This information can include both personal and financial data. Access to this data is done without your permission or knowledge. Your name, address, date of birth, or banking information may be compromised in the case of identity theft.
Financial data could include credit card numbers, bank account numbers, medical insurance numbers, or social security numbers.
All of these details can be used by a thief to buy things with your credit card, open a utility account in your name, steal your tax refund, or set up new credit cards under your name. These are just a few examples of what can be done with your personal information.
No in-depth explanation is needed to understand that identity theft is both immoral and illegal. Somebody illegally accessing your personal information is not a good thing. This naturally begs the question, how do you even know if someone has breached your personal information?
Unidentified Charges on Your Billing Statement
This is one of the easiest ways to detect and identify identity theft. Even if you experience a small number of unusual charges being charged to your billing statement, make sure you contact your bank immediately. The thief might be testing out smaller transactions before making a large purchase.
Receiving unexpected packages or deliveries is another warning sign to look out for. This could be occurring because someone is using your financial information to pay for goods and services. Forgetting to change the address for delivery or the culprit failing to intercept the goods before they reached your house could lead to an unknown delivery arriving at your doorstep.
Unknown Login Notifications
There are times when you log into an account from an unrecognized device. Typically, you receive a notification from the company or website about the unknown login.
If you unexpectedly receive such an alert notifying you about someone logging in to one of your accounts from an unfamiliar device or location, that could be a cue that somebody has access to your sensitive information.
Refusal of Benefits Claim
If you apply for state benefits and are refused on the basis that you are already receiving them, then there are high chances somebody already applied for them using your name and identity.
Suspicious Changes in Your Credit Score
If someone is using your information to take out loans, make credit purchases, or apply for credit then you’ll experience a change in your credit score. An unexpected and dramatic change in your credit score could possibly be a warning sign of identity theft. Before jumping to conclusions, verify that the change in score is not from legitimate activity on your end.
Calls and Texts From Debt Collectors
In this scenario, debt collecting companies will start contacting you with texts, calls, and emails asking you to pay unresolved debts. If you are timely with your payments and have a handle on your finances, you may want to check your credit score to ensure that someone isn’t running up a credit card under your name.
Can’t Receive a Tax Refund
You can’t receive a tax refund if somebody has already illegally claimed your tax returns. The government will deny your request stating that you have already filed paperwork for a tax refund. If you face such a dilemma, you can assume that somebody may have fraudulently breached your information and filed a tax return in your name.
There are multiple signs of identity theft so it is important to act quickly if you recognize any suspicious activity. If you catch an identity theft attempt early, you may be able to prevent a lot of headache in the future.