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03-30-2016, 04:43 PM #1
Warning Signs Your Identity Was Stolen
With all the news about data breaches, phishing scams, cyber-crimes, and even regular thefts, you should be on the look out for identity theft.
My preferred method to spot identity theft early, hopefully before it causes too much damage, is to regularly pull your free credit report and check it for any new lines that you did not open. Since you can get one report from each of Experian, Equifax and Transunin for free each year at annualcreditreport.com, I just rotate among the providers every 4 months or so.
Also, the FTC recommends that you should watch out for the following:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
If you do spot potential identity theft, you should take immediate action.
First, place a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus. This will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your credit report, a business must verify your identity before it issues new credit in your name. It's good for 30 days, but you can renew the fraud alert after 90 days.
Second, get your free credit reports to identify all possible instances of fraud.
Third, report the crime to your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission.
Fourth, call companies where the fraud occurred (and send a follow up letter) to close all the accounts opened in your name and let them know you will not be responsible for payment.
Fifth, contact the credit bureaus to correct your credit report.Current Fico Scores: 710 TU, 732 EQ
My Goal for 2016: 750+
03-30-2016, 05:32 PM #2
Would you ever suggest a credit freeze?
04-01-2016, 07:19 AM #3
With a credit freeze, you will need to pay $3 - $10 at each credit bureau to put it in place, and then pay again to unfreeze it. It can be very effective - since no one will be able to open a new account in your name. Bit it also means you will need to pay to unfreeze it to open any new credit. So it can start adding up in cast.
You may want to try a fraud alert. With a fraud alert, the credit bureau needs to confirm with before approving new credit. It is free, and good for 90 days. You can also renew it every 90 days. So this is a much more management solution.
Neither of these is a true lockdown. They are great from preventing someone from opening a new account using your identity. But they will not stop anyone from:
- Using a stolen credit card number
- Changing the address for your bills
- Filing an income tax return in your name
- Medical identity theft - where your medical insurance and identity is stolen for treatment
So while either a credit freeze or fraud alert can be helpful in thwarting identity theft, they will not eliminate it entirely.Current Fico Scores: 710 TU, 732 EQ
My Goal for 2016: 750+
04-01-2016, 01:37 PM #4
The only answer seems to be ever vigilant.