Identify theft is one of the most pernicious crimes that exists in the modern world. Through computer hacking and other methods, a criminal can get possession of your bank and credit information and clean you out just as surely as if he had demanded your wallet at gunpoint. Straightening the matter out can be a time-consuming aggravation when you have to prove to various institutions that you are who you say you are.
What are the warning signs of identity theft? The federal government has some helpful ideas.
For instance, if you suddenly have bank withdrawals or credit card charges that you don't recall making, your identity may well have been stolen.
Other signs include:
- If you suddenly don't get your regular bills in the mail, or you are getting unfamiliar bills for goods or services that you never paid for.
- Debt collectors start calling you trying to collect on debts that you never incurred.
- The IRS has notified you that you filed more than one tax return.
As Lifehacker notes, the key for criminals to steal your identity is getting your social security number. With that number in hand, they can open lines of credit in your name and then buy things with a new credit card which you will then be charged for. The key to making identity theft more difficult is to secure your social security card, as well as any passwords to your online banking account and any online retail outlets you use.
In the meantime, you should be vigilant for the tell-tale signs of identity theft. If think your identity has been stolen, the government has some ideas about what action to take. They include:
- Placing a fraud alert on your credit reports. Start proceedings to get fraudulent charges removed.
- Contacting your bank, brokerage firm, and credit card companies and dispute fraudulent charges.
Vigilance is a sad but necessary condition to deal with identity theft in the modern world. If you believe you are in danger and suspecting your identity has been stolen, contact Adam Alexandar immediately for professional and prompt consumer protection services.