Identity theft can be financially destructive unless it is handled quickly. Looking at your credit reports on an annual basis is one way to monitor potential identity theft. If your report contains foreign account information or you are surprised at your score, you may need to pay attention to the possibility of identity theft.
Your credit score is the equivalent of your financial identity when it comes to buying a house, getting credit or making other important financial decisions. Credit points are capable of influencing interest rates, premium payments and securing loans. Having your score changed by someone illegally using your information may prevent you from living your life.
See these warning signs as an indication of identity theft.
1. Unauthorized charges in your accounts. While annoying, it is incredibly important to reconcile all your financial statements every month. Many banks and lenders track suspicious activities, but you must be the first line of defense for your own financing. Any suspicious activity or unauthorized purchases should be reported to your financial institution at once.
2. Your credit report does not include information. Whether it's a debit or an account number you don't recognize, your credit report keeps valuable information about your identity. Sometimes identity thieves open accounts with information you do not know about you. Review your credit reports at least once a year, and note all the information about you.
3. You have contacted debt collection agencies. If you get a call about an account you don't know, you can be a victim of identity theft.
4. Receive fake medical bills. Identity thieves use your insurance information to get your medical information. Unpaid medical bills will certainly affect your total credit score, and you may be held responsible for the payment of any treatments you may not have.
5. Unexpected approvals are in your mailbox. If you see a notification that your mail has been forwarded, or if you receive information about credit cards and loans that you have never applied, you may be targeted by an identity thief. The IRS also warns about unpaid salaries.
What you should do if you suspect identity theft.
1. Inform Experian, TransUnion or Equifax on fraud. They will give a warning to your account and inform other institutions. This step will make it difficult for an identity thief to continue using your information in financial activities.
2. Make copies of your credit reports. Review all information and contact any company with incorrect account information. Stop activity in accounts. Always follow up with a letter in writing to work.
3. Create a fraud report. The report should include detailed information about fraud.
4. Report to the police. Get your established fraud report, known as "identity theft statement". The police station can help you fill the report.
5. Submit a report to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). To prepare an FTC report, you will need your identity theft approval and a copy of the police report.
Implementing these steps when you are aware of fraud can help protect your account and help you take further steps to protect your information. Once your report is published, you can use a copy of the report agencies to remove fake information from your file, to prevent collection agencies from contacting you for payment, and to learn more about the identity thief's activities.
Getting Out of Identity Theft
Once you've identified identity theft, you'll need to take a few more steps to ensure that your data is protected and all errors are corrected. You must take every precaution to ensure that the identity thief no longer has access to your information until you write a dispute, write a credit card account, and change it.
Alert all banks and financial institutions that have an account. You never know what an identity thief has access to. Follow all the information surrounding your communication with companies. Keep copies of each letter you send and file each response you receive. It is always a good idea to follow verbal communication in written letters.
You may need to take legal action to repair your identity, and the steps you take to keep records of all communications and repair your financial records can be considered as evidence. To get your information to repair, contact a credit repair agency to help certify and communicate credit bureaus and other companies.
Prevent Identity Theft
The best way to deal with identity theft is to prevent from the beginning. Being alert about all your accounts will keep you away from suspicious activity. Here are some more tips to prevent identity theft.
Always clean personal information on the Internet. Entries and passwords must not be left open on any public computer.
Change passwords frequently. Use secure passwords that do not contain personal or easily identifiable information about yourself. Change them frequently in financial accounts.
General and online use a credit card. Credit cards can be repaired relatively easily if they compromise fraud. Other payment methods, such as debit cards, are not guaranteed in the same way as credit card payments.
Use anti-spyware and anti-spam software. The security features on your computer are a good investment to prevent hackers from collecting your information through malware or spam.
Break up personal documents. Trash has historically been a popular place for identity thieves to collect sensitive information. Documents containing personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, account numbers, and routing numbers, should always be fragmented.
Protect and verify your mail address. Make sure your mailing address is regularly updated with financial institutions. If you move, contact the mail service and other companies to make sure your address is changed. Sensitive information sent to the wrong address can make an identity thief's actions a crime of convenience.
Identity theft is not just a challenge to correct. It can cause you to lose your financial credentials and correct credit score and financial information.