Companies and organizations that save your personal information are required to protect it. However, occasionally, the private data they store may be unintentionally stolen or accidentally leaked. Your information might be used fraudulently against you if it ends up in the wrong hands. So, you may be thinking that how to check if someone is using my identity. This blog answers this particular query.
Identity Theft: What does it mean?
The meaning of theft is clear – ‘stolen’, so identity theft means a thief (hacker) has stolen your identity. In other words, a different person is pretending to be you – and this is all happening without your consent.
An identity thief may steal any of the personal information including name, addresses, financial account info, SSN, and other. Through this stolen information they can do the following things;
- Make purchases from your credit cards
- Get cards issued in your name
- Register billing accounts in your name
- Steal the tax refund registered in your name
- Steal your health fund for personal healthcare
- Pretends to be you on being arrested
How to check if someone is using my identity?
It’s important to know how to spot identity theft in addition to taking precautions to protect your information. You can take steps on your own to spot identity theft. Additionally, several businesses offer credit and identity monitoring services. Here is how to check if someone is using my identity.
- Keep track of the bills you owe and their due dates: If you are not receiving bills, it may indicate that your billing address has been altered.
- Evaluate your invoices: Charges for items you did not purchase could indicate identity fraud. The same may be said for a surprise bill.
- Review bank statement: Unauthorized withdrawals could be an indicator of identity theft.
- Request your credit reports and review them: Identity theft may be indicated by accounts opened in your name that you are unfamiliar with.
Indications of identity theft
However, there are numerous forms of identity theft, and they all exhibit similar symptoms. Watch out for these warning signs as it is another way how to check if someone is using my identity:
- Notification by IRS: When your SSN information is stolen, the IRS notifies you of the fraudulent use.
- Unrecognized accounts on credit report: Another sign of identity theft is the appearance of unrecognized accounts on the credit report.
- Unrecognized withdrawals from the bank are also a sign of identity theft.
- Unrecognized billing – bills you haven’t subscribed for.
- Unrecognized debit calls / or spam calls requesting personal information.
What to do if your personal information has been compromised?
If you act soon after learning that your personal information may have been stolen, the risk of identity theft will be reduced. If your financial information is stolen, you should freeze the credit and block the credit cards.
Arrange a meeting with the finance bureau and look up for either closing bank or brokerage accounts instantly or you need to only change the password and let the bureau monitor the account activity. Don’t use personal data elements such as your password like birthdates, SSN, phone number, or others.
Your credit report bears a preliminary fraud notice for 3 months. On enabling fraud alerts, you may be guided to order 1 free credit report from a finance bureau. It’s wise to hold off ordering your report for about a month after your information was taken. This is so that suspicious conduct may not always be immediately apparent.
Evaluate the reports as soon as you receive them for any suspicious behavior, such as inquiries from businesses you did not contact, accounts you did not register, and debts on your accounts that you cannot account for. Verify the accuracy of information such as your SSN, address(es), name or initials, and jobs.
If any of the govt.-issued identification data is stolen, you should immediately contact the issuing agency and follow the guidelines to cancel the document and request a replacement. Moreover, ask them to tag your file to keep others from registering any identification document in your name.
Followed by these precautionary measures, keep an eye out for any indications that your information is illegal. For example, billings and emails may be delayed. Contact the creditors in such cases. A missing bill may indicate an identity theft incident.
Credit and Identity Monitoring Services
Another way to stay updated on identity theft incidents is to subscribe to identity theft protection services. There are so many firms offering these services. You should check if your bank, credit card issuer, or insurance company offers credit monitoring services.
Identity monitoring service providers look for outdated or incorrect information about you in databases that compile various forms of information. This can be an answer to your query ‘how to check if someone is using my identity. It may indicate that someone is abusing your personal data. These services are able to identify usage of your personal data that won’t appear on your credit report.