Identity theft is a major concern for most Americans. According to statistics, nearly 33% of Americans have experienced some type of identity theft during their lifetime. Seniors are especially at risk and often considered the primarily targeted group. However, any age group, including children, can be targets. Unfortunately, many younger victims won’t discover the resulting issues until they attempt to establish credit as adults. While 2022 recorded identity theft cases dropped from record highs in 2021, they’re still uncomfortably high. Fortunately, there are some signs of identity theft that can help you minimize the damage.
Unexplained Bank Activity
Monthly financial statements will tell you if there has been unusual activity within your bank and credit union accounts. Approximately 203 million Americans also access their bank accounts online. If you’re among those net-friendly users, be sure to check your accounts regularly for detailed information on unusual charges and withdrawals. Also, be sure to never deposit a check if you’re not familiar with the sender. Even a legitimate-looking digital check made out to you can cause external access to your accounts and personal funds.
Unrecognized Medical Bills
Pay close attention to any bills or notices from your health insurance or medical providers. They should always process legitimate claims easily unless there’s a problem with payment. A few phone calls can normally fix common financial issues on the policyholder’s end. However, unusual activity can cause extra bills you weren’t expecting, which can lead to an identity thief accessing your medical account information and maxing out any remaining medical benefits you have for the year. That can be especially dangerous and problematic if your insurance is also covering existing conditions, emergency care, or medication for other household or family members.
Credit Report Errors or Sudden Credit Issues
According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 20% of Americans have mistakes in their credit reports. Many of those are simple computer or time-lapse errors, such as unreported credit card payments or unadjusted debt consolidation. However, identity thieves use these errors to their advantage. It’s far easier to steal credit cards or those numbers than it is to access bank accounts. Identity thieves may steal cards from your wallet, record numbers while you’re shopping, or grab financial records right from your residential or business mailbox. They may also sign up for credit in your name and use your address, intending to steal those cards later. Always pay close attention and report any new accounts you haven’t created as soon as possible.
An Unexpected Arrest Warrant
Identity theft is literally the act of someone using your name, personal information, and/or financial information to commit crimes or fraud. While it may sound implausible, someone might get your information and commit crimes under your name. Police or other authorities can then serve you with an arrest warrant when stopped for a traffic violation or even in the hospital. Fortunately, knowing the signs of identity theft can help reverse the problems and help keep your identity safe in the future. Contact ASG Investigations if you need expert help from our private investigations team.