10 Signs Your Identity Might Have Been Stolen

25 January 2016

When it comes to protecting your identity, we often talk most about ways to keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. From carefully considering where you share financial information online to making sure to shred sensitive documents before throwing them away, these measures are a crucial component of a person’s identity theft protection strategy.

While safeguarding your personal information is important, there is unfortunately no foolproof way to prevent identity theft altogether. Therefore, quickly detecting signs of identity theft is just as important when it comes to fraud protection. Here are 10 signs to look for that could indicate your identity has been compromised:

  • Bank account statements show unexpected withdrawals, purchases or transfers
  • Bills and statements do not arrive on time
  • Bills arrive for accounts that you do not own
  • Lenders call to update you on the status of credit applications you did not submit
  • Creditors or collectors call requesting payment of unknown debts
  • You do not receive your quarterly property tax bill
  • Annual insurance renewal forms or income tax forms do not arrive on time
  • You are denied a credit application you believe you should have been able to qualify for
  • Credit report shows credit issued that you did not request
  • There is an unexpected lien on your property

While some of the above signs would be hard to miss, like receiving calls from debt collectors or unexpected bills, detecting others requires some degree of vigilance on the part of the consumer. This is why it is so important to regularly check your bank and credit card statements and credit reports. In fact, catching identity theft with proactive checks like these can help save you from the inconvenience of the other indications, such as having a loan application unexplainably denied.

As helpful as this list can be, however, it is not exhaustive. Even if you don’t notice any of the above indications, it is still possible that you may have been targeted by ID thieves. Similarly, just because a bill never arrives or you notice a mistaken charge on your bank statement does not necessarily mean you are being victimized by fraudsters. That being said, it is definitely a possibility you should explore.

If you believe you may have become a victim of ID theft, contact one of the credit bureaus to place a credit alert on your account. This will instruct lenders to contact you before granting new lines of credit. Then, reach out to your bank and let it know of the situation. It can help by reissuing your cards and helping you remedy fraudulent transactions.

For help detecting certain activity that may indicate fraud on your credit file, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Credit monitoring companies like Identity Guard work by regularly monitoring their customers’ credit files and personal information on the internet.