Has this ever happened to you? You running late for work (as usual) yet you need to stop at the ATM to withdraw some extra cash, and for some reason it keeps telling you there is not enough in your account or your balance is zero.
What is going on, you ask? Yes it is identity theft, some one hacked into your personal account, someone probably on the other side of the world now knows your personal information and has completely wiped you out, has charged thousands of dollars on your credit cards and will happily continue to hit your accounts not caring one bit about your situation or how much it will destroy you and your financial outcome. It is happening to more people on a daily basis and the situation of how to fix identity theft is causing financial and mental distress.
Sometimes unauthorized or undetected financial movements could be hitting your accounts for months before you realize that criminal activity is going on. So what can you do to prevent identity theft?
Be aware of situations of how your information can be stolen:
- Your personal bank accounts have unexplained withdraws or transactions that you did not authorized.
- You do not get your regular bills at your address or your mail has been tampered with
- Learn to check your credit report on a regular basis to see if any new accounts were opened or who is looking at your personal information
- Your health care provide rejects or notifies you of unexplained claims. Yes, even medical information is being stolen.
- You realize that your social security number is being used
- Okay, you realize something is going on, but you don’t have all the facts, do not delay – start fighting back!
Here are a few steps to take as soon as you discover unauthorized activity or identity theft:
- Every bank, credit union, store and business that deals with credit, debt, account numbers etc, has a fraud department, call and alert them to what is going on
- Check your personal information with the major credit bureaus and put a freeze on your accounts. You can get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Change pin numbers, login information and passwords and keep detailed information in a safe place
- File a report with your local police department. When dealing with the credit bureaus, any banks, companies or businesses they most likely will request a copy for their file to have the fraud charges removed
An excellent source to find addition steps when dealing with any type of identity theft, tax related theft, child identity theft, debt collectors, student loans, and even bankruptcies filed in your name is at the government website: www.identitytheft.gov
Also check out the Federal Trade Commission website. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. At this government website www.consumer.ftc.gov you can find tips on a variety of topics such as jobs, working from home, health and fitness, home mortgages, resolving consumer problems, how to file complaints, money issues, do not call registries, and especially on all types of different frauds and scam alerts.
You will have at your finger tips a ton of quality information of how to protect yourself and your finances, what to watch for and how to fix identity theft.
You can prevent unfortunate acts from happening to you, and even stop the criminal action before it gets to far. Just remember, be aware of what is going on and be safe out there.