In today’s age, data breaches are unfortunately a new normal. As companies are better prepared to protect against a data breach, attackers are finding more stealthy ways to get around security measures and seek the information they want. According to BreachLevelIndex.com, 4,014,175 records are lost or stolen every day, with 2,788 records stolen per minute. The most common types of misused information include credit card (40 percent) and bank account (37 percent) information.
While most people find out they are a victim of identity theft when they are contacted by their financial institution, you cannot always rely on someone else catching the problem. It is important to be constantly on the lookout for any warning signs that your personal information has been stolen and is being used.
Here are seven key warning signs that you are the victim of identity theft, according to Today:
- Bills for goods or services you did not purchase appear on your credit/debit card statements: Don’t ignore small charges. Crooks who steal account numbers sometimes do a test with a small purchase. If it’s unauthorized, check it out.
- Statements show up from an unknown credit card account: Armed with the right information, a thief can apply for credit cards in your name. They hope to go on a shopping spree in your name before they get caught and the account is closed.
- A new credit card or store charge card that you didn’t apply for shows up in the mail: An ID thief pretending to be you may have applied for that card. Don’t assume it’s a mistake. Contact the company right away.
- Collection notices or calls for a debt you don’t owe: It could be an honest mistake… or it could be that an identity thief is using your personal information to buy things and not pay the bill. You’d better find out!
- Errors (misinformation) on credit report: Get a report from an online bureau (such as Experian or Equifax) every four months to look for anything suspicious, such as an account you didn’t open or credit inquiries when you didn’t apply for credit.
- You have good credit, but an application for credit is denied: If your credit has been denied, find out what is going on. An identity thief could have mucked-up your credit file and ruined your credit score.
- Missing mail or email: There could be a problem if the monthly statement from your bank or credit card company suddenly stops. A thief may have filed a change of address form to get that statement and keep you from spotting their dirty work for as long as possible.
Employee & Family Resources offers a new service within its EAP for identity theft. While the service excludes corporate breach incidents leading to identity theft of employees, our services assist employees and their eligible family members undergoing a fraud-related emergency. In the event of an identity theft, Fraud Resolution Specialists provide both affordable and expedient assistance, including a free consultation to help with emergency response, assistance in restoring identity and good credit, advice on how to communicate with creditors and collection agencies, and so much more!
To learn more about EFR’s ID Theft Resolution service, visit our online resource at http://www.efr.org/my-eap/.