How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

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How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen – Do you suspect you are a victim of identity theft? Ta me a ka nu he. Identity theft cases, which have been on the rise for decades, have seen a dramatic increase in recent years.

But these are just the reports, with a recent survey showing that 47% of Americans have been victims of financial identity theft in the past two years. [*]

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

1. Unidentified Activity in Your Financial Information Most identity thieves have one goal: cash in on your personal information as quickly as possible.

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That’s why you should always have a current copy of your credit report and you should develop a habit of checking your financial statements every month

Learning to recognize the warning signs of identity theft is critical A recent survey found that fewer than half of consumers know they’ve been a victim of identity theft from their financial institution.

You can get a free credit report from every credit reporting agency at AnnualCreditReport.com.

When checking your credit history, be sure to look for hard inquiries you didn’t recognize or new accounts you didn’t open.

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Watch your credit card and bank statements closely for any signs of fraudulent activity, no matter how small. Criminals often test stolen cards with a few dollars before attempting to make larger purchases

What does this mean to you? If you have unusual activity on your credit file, it means thieves have stolen your Social Security Number (SSN) or other types of personal information that can be used to apply for new credit cards, loans or more. A mortgage in your name

A suspicious purchase spotted on your bank or credit card activity means your card number has been stolen and the thief is making an unauthorized purchase.

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If you notice any of these red flags, you should immediately freeze your credit and report the fraud to your financial institution.

How To Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

You may need to cancel the account where this occurs, as this is a necessary step for effective loss control

2. Health insurance benefits are maximized If you lose health insurance coverage or are denied benefits from government agencies such as unemployment, this is a sign that someone has stolen your identity.

Benefit theft was one of the most abused forms of identity theft at the height of the pandemic, as fraudsters took advantage of people in need of US government financial assistance.

Scammers may have stolen your information in a phishing attack or found it on the dark web after a data breach.

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For example, the T-Mobile breach in 2021 exposed the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of more than 40 million people. [*]

Your health insurance information may be stolen in the event of medical identity theft, in which someone uses your health care facility to pay for their own medical care.

And there’s another government benefit that many of us don’t recognize but is just as important: your tax refund. This type of fraud is so prevalent that it deserves its own category

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

3. Incorrect (or missing) tax return You file your tax return, only to receive an alarming message: someone else has already filed a return in your name.

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Or equivalently, the IRS accepts your correct return, but then sends you a letter saying there are discrepancies and your taxes need to be audited.

Common targets of identity fraud include taxes. Unfortunately, the IRS is limited in its ability to help you in tax fraud situations

What does this mean to you? An existing return indicates that an identity thief has claimed a tax refund in your name

For example, in May 2022 an Illinois man was convicted of identity theft. He collected Rs 222,000 in tax returns filed on behalf of innocent victims.

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If your tax return is flagged for discrepancies, it could be because someone used your personal information on a job application. Even worse, the IRS may flag your income for unreported income

4. You’re Locked Out of Your Online Account Imagine you’re trying to access an important online account, but you can’t. When you try to reset the password, it doesn’t even recognize your email Your account is locked out

The average American has 150 online accounts Even the best Internet security tools can’t prevent a data breach — a top method hackers use to steal passwords.

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Last year set new records for the number of security breaches that leaked personally identifiable information (PII), including:

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What does this mean to you? oh If you can’t log into the account (or reset your password), it means a scammer has taken it.

Financial institutions are big targets A thief can withdraw money from your bank account, credit account or cryptocurrency wallet until you wipe the account to zero.

If you haven’t used your Macy’s online account in five years, you probably don’t care about it, but if it’s hacked, criminals can buy products with your saved credit card information.

5. Physical Mail Mail theft is one of the worst scams where someone has hacked your mailbox and violated your privacy.

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Even if you check your mailbox regularly and use a hack to get rid of sensitive documents and financial information, you’re not completely safe.

In June 2022, a Florida postal worker pleaded guilty to opening and stealing nearly 100 pieces of mail.

What does this mean to you? oh Mail is a target for fraudsters because it contains valuable information that can be stolen for identity theft. This information may include your name, phone number, address, and account number.

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Bank statements, medical records, tax records and pre-approved junk mail can be used for identity theft.

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6. Missing IDs or physical documents You get ready to leave for work in the morning and suddenly realize that your wallet is missing.

If you lose any type of sensitive physical document (especially a driver’s license) or your entire wallet, you are at a higher risk of identity theft.

What does this mean to you? A thief holding an ID card or a physical credit or debit card can commit more identity theft than stealing your identity on the dark web.

A personal identification document or physical credit card contains all the information needed to commit identity fraud

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7. Your Information Found on the Dark Web You can run a free dark web scan to make sure your personal information isn’t exposed.

What to do if someone steals your identity Here’s what you should do if your identity is stolen:

1. Change your password immediately If you’ve experienced fraud, it’s always a good idea to change your password and secure your online accounts, especially for sensitive accounts that contain financial information.

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

2. Set up two-factor authentication (2FA). Of the 1.2 million hacked accounts tracked by Microsoft, 99.9% did not use 2FA. Installing an authentication app is simple and helps prevent account takeovers

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3. Use a secure password manager Don’t try to remember all your passwords and don’t reuse the same password across multiple online accounts.

4. Lock or Freeze Your Credit Immediately You should contact one of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) and initiate a credit freeze. You should also place a fraud alert on your credit file, requiring lenders to verify your identity before extending credit. Meanwhile, a credit freeze locks your report completely

5. Notify your financial institutions Call the fraud department at the affected companies, such as your bank or credit card company, and explain that you have been a victim of identity theft.

6. Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). An official identity theft report can be submitted to the FTC at identitytheft.gov

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7. File a Police Report Bring the FTC report with you to file a report with local law enforcement

8. Report Identity Theft to the IRS If you are a victim of tax fraud, complete an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) or call 800-908-4490.

9. Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, contact their fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online at https://oig.ssa.gov/.

How To Check If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

10. Keep less in your wallet or purse The less information you carry with you, the less information a thief can steal Keep only one credit card and driver’s license in your wallet Always keep your social security card and debit card at home

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11. Use a VPN and Antivirus Software A VPN can help protect you on public Wi-Fi networks Antivirus software can detect and remove malware before it infects your device and data

12. Consider Identity Theft Protection A credit monitoring service isn’t enough To ensure true peace of mind, you need a comprehensive identity theft protection service Through December 31, 2022, TransUnion and Equifax offer free weekly to all U.S. customers via AnnualCreditReport.com to help protect your financial health during sudden and unexpected times. Provides credit reports. Complications caused by COVID-19

Identity thieves are hard at work, finding new and creative ways to cash in on other people’s personal information. In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 4.7 million reports of fraud, a 45% increase over 2019, resulting in a total of $3.3 billion in economic losses.

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