Signs of Identity Theft
Once an identity thief has your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, purchase a vehicle, or even get expensive medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and intercept your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest or during an investigation, which occurred here in Sonora just last week.
Below are some clues someone has stolen your identity/information. These should also be red flags to you, which you need to act on immediately.
- You notice withdrawals from your bank account which you can’t explain or don’t recognize
- You do not get your bills or other mail
- Mysterious charges appear on your credit card statements
- Debt collectors call you about debts which are not yours
- You receive notices of traffic citations you didn’t receive
- You receive notice of a court date regarding something you have no knowledge of
- Medical providers bill you for services you did not receive
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because records show you’ve reached your benefits limit
- A health plan will not cover you because your medical records show a major condition you do not have, or didn’t receive treatment for
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or under your Social Security number, or you failed to report income from an employer you did not work for
- You receive notice your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account with (i.e. Target, Home Depot, Anthem, U.S. Government Office of Personal Management, ext.)
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. However, you need to act fast, as time is of the essence when dealing with this type of crime.
Next week we will wrap up our series looking at some of the things you should do if you become a victim. We will also look at your rights as a victim of identity theft as well.
This information was gathered by Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson from several different sources such as; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Government’s Online Safety Site, Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, as well as the Federal and State Departments of Justice.