Protecting your personal information is important to keep yourself and your financial information safe. Unfortunately, identity theft happens more than more people realize.
a 2020. In 2019, approximately 13 million people in the US were victims of identity theft, according to identity fraud survey From Javelin, a research-based advisory company. Overall, identity theft cost people about $17 billion in that year alone.
Identity theft is serious. Once scammers have access to your personal information, they can terminate your bank account, charge your credit card, open new utility accounts, and get medical treatment on your health insurance. federal trade commission. They can even file tax returns in your name and get your refund money.
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Experts say it’s important to know the signs of identity theft if this happens to you. Here’s what you need to know:
top signs of identity theft
One of the biggest signs is that you’ll start seeing strange transactions, says computer security expert Graham Cluley, co-host. smashing security podcast, tells Yahoo Life. “You may see unusual transactions in your bank accounts,” Cluley says. “You may receive email confirmations on products you haven’t purchased, credit cards you haven’t applied for and loans you don’t recognize coming in the mail.”
But there are other warning signs that should be on your radar as well, joseph steinberg, cyber security and emerging technologies consultant, tells Yahoo Life. Steinberg lists the following as identity theft red flags:
You get notices of unpaid driving tickets that you never received.
You see unknown accounts on your credit report.
The IRS blocks you from filing federal taxes because it says you already filed for the year in question—when you didn’t.
You receive confirmation of changes to your physical or email address that you did not request.
You either receive a bill, a medical insurance explanation of benefit statements, or a dental insurance explanation of a benefit statement for health services that you have not received.
You have been told when you know you have made the most of a particular medical or dental insurance benefit.
Your cellphone unexpectedly loses service.
Law enforcement shows you a warrant for your arrest for a crime you did not commit.
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft?
“Notify law enforcement,” Steinberg says. Typically, this means contacting your local police department. But you’ll also want to inform them Internal Revenue Service and report identity theft federal trade commission. Steinberg recommends putting a withholding on your credit report as well.
You’ll also want to contact your bank about suspicious charges, Cluley suggests — they should be able to investigate.
Identity theft happens, but the good news is that there are some things you can do to protect yourself — and prevent it from happening in the first place.
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