The Warning Signs of Identity Theft
If you are like alot of people, you have probably heard of identity theft. You have gotten mailings from various companies warning you about it and possible steps to take to prevent it. You probably understand the financial ramifications of it. You even understand that it can leave you financially devastated if you do not take certain steps to deal with it correctly and swiftly. But do you recognize the warning signs?
The sad reality is that alot of people do not recognize the possible warning signs of identity theft and fail to react in time to prevent it from becoming a real problem. They simply do not pay attention to those little warnings that something could be very wrong. Here are a few warning signs that you should be aware of.
Your regular bills arrive late or not at all. Usually the postal service is good at keeping the mail moving in a timely manner, but when your bills start showing up two weeks late or not at all, a better question might be: Is someone watching your mailbox?
A Related warning sign (to the above) is unexpected bills. Particularly credit cards, cell phones, etc. A potential thief may watch your mailbox to see when the mail arrives and when you pick it up. He can then steal a credit card application (Or any credit or mail in loan application), fill it out and send it in. When the card arrives, he can then activate it and start using it with you being none the wiser till you get the bills.
Denials of Credit can be especially embarrassing, but when you are rejected without a reason, it is even harder. An especially good idea here is to get and keep yearly copies of your credit report. This can be invaluable to you in detecting and dealing with unauthorized activity that is related to you. This can protect your credit rating which is invaluable when shopping for that first house or buying that next car. In many cases now, it is also a factor in landing a job.
You start getting letters or calls, or both, about items that have been purchased in your name, but not by you. This one is my personal favorite as it related to my own family.
A relative of mine started getting calls regarding a purchase he supposedly made in another city. At first, the calls were mainly notices of overdue payments. After a short while, however, they started getting nasty with threats of legal action and even some name calling.
It didn't take long to realize what had happened. His identity had been compromised. My relative took his dad and they traveled to see the merchant in question regarding this entire incident. It was discovered that the thief did not look like my relative in any way. This visit also stopped the calls. The irony of it all was that the thief knew my relative.
These days a little inattention can land you in a heap of financial trouble. Keep an eye on your bills. Keep track of your financial records. If you get any credit card applications that you have no interest in, make sure they are destroyed. Use a good crosscut paper shredder. A few simple steps can go a long way in protecting yourself from identity theft. Visit Smore Credit Monitoring for more information on how to keep your identity secure.