Are You a Victim of Fraud? 4 Ways to Find Out
Becoming a victim of fraud and identity theft is a frightening thing, but it is something you can remedy. The most important thing is to act fast. In order to do that, you need to know if and when you are a victim of fraud. Here are some ways to find out.
You Were Denied Credit
If you know you have excellent credit, but were denied a credit card or loan due to having a low credit score, you might be a victim of fraud. This is sometimes the first sign that you are a victim of identity fraud. Someone is using your name and social security number to get lines of credit, then aren't paying the bills on time, or not at all. Over time, it can cause your credit score to drop without you realizing it. Get a copy of your credit report and score to compare it to what it was before. If you have never paid a bill late yet your score is in the low range, you know there is a problem.
Bills and Other Mail Aren't Arriving
You may stop getting your mail and other bills altogether if you are a victim of fraud. The person who has stolen your identity has most likely changed the physical address to their current address, which can cause all mail to end up in their mailbox. If you have noticed that you no longer get any mail, or some very important bills are being missed, then it is time to contact these companies and find out what is going on. If they have a new address under your name, someone is using your information.
Errors on Your Credit Report
Make sure you look closely at your credit report for every collection and charge. If you notice some items for collections that you don't recognize, you could be a victim of identity theft. They are sometimes hard to spot, so look closely. If the report only lists the collection agency, but not what the item was actually for, contact that collection agency for more information. It might be for not paying for a store credit card that you know you never had.
Bills and Statements That Don't Belong to You
Make sure you don't assume these are just minor errors by the bank or collection agency. Never ignore statements or bills that are sent to you with your name and social security number, but that you don't recognize. You may be looking at your checking account bank statement and notice a series of charges that don't belong to you, or could end up with a statement for an account you never opened in the first place. Talk to your spouse to make sure they didn't purchase these items. If not, it is time to contact the bank and find out more information about the items purchased, the location, and the date. Remember to take your questions to a professional like Visterra Credit Union.