As futuristic as it sounds, data breaches are becoming more common. If it has not happened to you get, it may soon. According to a 2018 Identity Fraud Study done by Javelin Strategy & Research, 16.7 million Americans were victimized by identity theft last year. Online shopping presents the greatest opportunity for an identity to be stolen.
Once a thief has your personal information, they may be capable of draining your bank accounts, opening up new credit cards, or using your health insurance. We have put together a list of the seven most common indicators your personal information has been compromised.
1. Unfamiliar charges appear on your bank statements. If you find charges on your account for services or goods that you did not purchase you should contact your financial institution. They should be able to make sure that no new charges occur and that you are reimbursed for fraudulent charges. It’s always a good idea to monitor your financial reports regularly so you can recognize any fraudulent activity as soon as it starts.
2. Statements from unknown credit card accounts. If new credit accounts are appearing on your credit report or you are receiving statements for cards that you did not apply for, you should reach out to the credit issuer immediately. They will be able to help you with next steps to stop from continuing. Just like your bank accounts, you should be monitoring your credit reports regularly to identify fraud issues as soon as possible.
3. Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t receive. If you receive a bill for a medical visit that you didn’t have, you should request a copy of your medical records from your insurance company and file a police report.
4. A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have. Federal law provides you the right to review your medical records. You can check them for errors and contact the doctor or hospital that the visit took place at. You may have to send documentation to the medical provider proving that you were not the person who was actually being treated for that condition.
5. Collection for debt you don’t owe. If you start getting calls from a debt collector for a debt that you had no idea about. You should request documentation. If the debt is not yours, you will need to send them documentation supporting your claim as well as proof of identity theft.
6. You get a notice that your information was compromised by a data breach. Most large companies are required to notify its customers if a data breach has occured. Follow their instructions and change your passwords if needed. If they offer free credit monitoring services, you may choose to take advantage of the offer.
7. Your e-filed tax return is rejected. If you get a letter from the IRS saying the wage amount associated with your employment information doesn’t match the amount you filed on your tax return, it could be something minor such as entering a number wrong. You should double check and make sure that everything is correct and to be aware if someone else is trying to file as you. You are still able to file your taxes if you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you will just need to do it by mail instead.
If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, you may consider filing an Identity Theft Affidavit as well as an FTC Identity Theft Report. If you still have questions regarding identity theft you can ask a lawyer today.