ID theft has always existed, but new technology makes it easier for your data to get stolen. According to the FTC, ID theft increased by 45% in 2020 with over 4 million complaints filed. If you’ve experienced ID theft in Hancock, Indiana, there are steps to recovery.
ID theft overview and signs
ID theft is a crime that involves stealing someone’s personal banking or credit card details to make purchases. The scammers commonly gather details from discarded bank or credit card statements found in the trash or by using phishing emails. It is a punishable crime with possible jail terms.
Getting bills for services you didn’t use or purchases showing on statements you didn’t make could indicate ID theft. Another possible sign of ID theft is getting calls or letters from unknown debt collectors or denial for loans or insurance claims.
How to recover
If you didn’t make the credit card purchases, notify your card provider and ask one of the three major credit bureaus to freeze your report. You should obtain a copy of your credit report from each bureau, which is free once annually from each agency. Notify your bank of fraudulent debit card activity or lost cards and file a report or notify the card provider.
If an unknown debt collector contacts you, give them notice that your ID has been stolen and offered to send copies of the ID theft reports. Send copies of these reports to your insurance provider when you know you haven’t exceeded the policy limit. Keep an eye on billing statements, activate firewalls on computers, and shred old bills and cards you no longer use.
Sometimes, ID theft occurs by accident. A bank teller may pull up the wrong account, or someone may use the wrong login information on a shared computer. Even when the person who stole your identity did not do it on purpose, you can use the above steps to address the potentially negative effect on your credit.