Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes around the world. Law enforcement agencies still haven't quite gotten the hang of how criminals use the Internet, and there's tremendous opportunity to make money for those who are savvy. Unfortunately average people end up on the wrong side of these identity theft schemes. Any expert will tell you that acting quickly is critical if you want to protect your credit and mitigate the loss. Here are five signs it might be the right time to conduct an identity theft check.
You're getting suspicious letters in the mail
If you've never applied for credit cards and you seem to be getting many new offers every day, it might be time to see if someone's applying in your name. Credit card companies tend to share information. When you apply for one, you'll see a flood of new offers. More mail might mean something is off.
Your car insurance rates went up
You might not know it, but your car insurance rates can go up if your credit score goes down. If you haven't gotten a ticket or been involved in an accident and your rates went up anyway, it might be because someone harmed your credit. When this happens, it's time to take a look.
Suspicious charges show up on your accounts
You might be tempted to write off suspicious charges as a one-time thing. After all, any waiter or gas station credit card skimmer could have gotten your card number. Resist this temptation. When suspicious charges you show up, it could be a part of a bigger scheme to defraud you.
Your phone or computer was lost or stolen
In today's world, people keep far too much personal information on their phones and computers. If you lose yours or have them stolen, you may want to conduct an identity theft check. Many thieves steal computers in hopes of hacking into your information and opening accounts.
You're suddenly denied for bank accounts and basic credit
While it could be normal to experience a denial for big credit, if you find yourself struggling to open bank accounts, it might be because something big is lurking out there. Identity thieves can strike quickly, and when they do, they can put negative marks on more than just your credit. A thief might have harmed your standing with Chexsystems, too, making it more difficult for you to conduct normal banking relationships. If you experience this change, you should start the process of conducting an identity theft check.
Don't wait too long when things start to go sour. Identity thieves are notoriously good at making themselves scarce, and the authorities will have a harder time locating the perpetrator the longer you wait. In most cases, you can get any lost money back, and you might even be able to contest the negative things that show up on your credit report. Seeing the signs and acting accordingly is important if you want to stave off disaster before it's too late. Isn't your financial future important enough to take action when someone steals your name?