There are several ways your identity can be stolen. If you are vigilant in examining your financial records on a regular basis, you will observe inconsistencies of your accounts. The earlier those inconsistencies can be discovered, the quicker you can take steps to correcting the identity theft. If your identity was compromised several months ago, you will need to follow specific steps to correct the impropriety. This article will provide information why thieves steal your identity, provide clues your identity has been stolen and steps to correct the situation.
What Do Thieves Do with Your Information?
Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.
Clues That Someone Has Stolen Your Information
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you cannot explain.
- You do not get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that are not yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you did not use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you have reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan will not cover you because your medical records show a condition you do not 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 do not 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 your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.
Depending on the type of identity theft you have been a victim, there are multiple processes you will need to follow to retain your identity. Please open the link and follow the steps and then follow the “to do” list for the respective type of identity theft(s).
In this government sponsored link, https://www.identitytheft.gov/steps you will find:
- What to Do Right Away if Identity is Stolen
- What to Do Next
- Other Possible Steps
- Steps for Certain Accounts
There are checklists for each type of identity theft. Also included in the link is the ability to
- Know Your Rights
- Create a Personal Recovery Plan
- Sample Letters
- Credit Bureau Contact Information among other items to restore your identity
Having your personal identity stolen can be a very traumatizing effect in one’s life. It can be an extremely emotional time and it may take several months to completely regain control of your personal identity. You can refer to the following link to assist with the emotional aspects of the identity theft trauma.
Always be vigilant when protecting your identity and when monitoring your hospital bills, credit card, tax and bank statements. It takes time to increase the level at which your personal identity remains protected, but it takes much more time to recover a stolen identity.