7 Ways To Spot (And Avoid) Identity Theft
| 3 min read
Did you know that thieves can steal more than just physical possessions and money? They can also steal personal information, through identity theft, to gain access to things that they want.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone steals and uses your personal information in order to commit fraud. Scammers often use stolen personal information to make purchases, open financial accounts, file taxes, apply for credit, and more.
To help keep you in control of your personal information, here are seven ways to spot potential identity theft, plus what to do if you are a victim.
- You receive credit card statements for accounts you did not open
If a scammer wants to gain access to money using your name and personal information, they may use your credit history to open new credit card accounts. If you begin receiving account statements for cards in your name that you know you did not open, contact the financial institution that issued the card immediately.
- Merchants refuse your method of payment
If your card or check is declined while making a purchase when you believe there should be sufficient funds in your account, this may be a sign that a scammer has stolen your account information. Call your financial institution immediately so that they can investigate the account.
- There are unknown withdrawals from your financial account
It is important to check your bank and card accounts regularly to ensure you recognize all transactions that have been processed. If you notice a withdrawal that you either did not authorize or do not recognize, contact your financial institution immediately so that they can review the transaction with you.
- Your bills didn’t show up this month
If you didn’t receive a bill in the month that you expected, this may be an indicator that someone changed your address on the account. Call the merchant or service provider and explain the situation so that they can help you resolve the issue.
- New accounts show up on your credit report
Your credit report is key to your financial health and is something you can and should review on an annual basis. Credit companies are required to provide a free report to you annually upon request.
We have listed the contact information for the three major credit bureaus in our Security Center. If you notice a problem, dispute it with a credit bureau. They will work with you to resolve your concerns. You can also work with the bureau to freeze your credit temporarily to ensure that new accounts are not being created in your name.
- The IRS notifies you that you have multiple tax returns filed
One of the primary ways for identity thieves to make money is to go after your withholdings for taxes in any given tax year. If you get a notice from the IRS of multiple filings, this is a clear indicator of identity theft. Contact the IRS immediately to resolve the issue.
- Notice of a data breach
It is unfortunate, but even the most disciplined organizations can be hit by a data breach. Hackers break into the organization, steal your private data, and then use it to create fraudulent accounts. If you receive a notice that your personal information may have been compromised, keep your eye out for any of the situations above.
If you believe your device, account, or personal information may have been compromised, rest assured, we are here to help. Follow these three steps:
- Change your online credentials, including your username and password, immediately
- This can be done in the Settings > Security section of online and mobile banking
- Contact us immediately at 1.800.888.7882
- Describe the situation to us so that we can help find a solution
- Have your computer/mobile device scanned for malware