There are few things in life that feel as violating as having your identity stolen. When it dawns on you that someone else has your personal information and is spending your money, it's quite unsettling.
However, identity theft is incredibly common, affecting more and more Americans every year. In 2017 alone, over 16 million people had their identities stolen.
Keep reading to learn the signs of identity theft so you can respond as soon as possible and limit the damage.
Top 5 Signs of Identity Theft
Learning how to read the signs of identity theft is vital to losing everything. The last thing you need is debt collectors on your tail and a torched credit score.
Additionally, as nearly 80% of Americans already live paycheck to paycheck, you likely can afford many more expenditures. Stay attentive to your bank accounts, passwords, and personal belongings and watch for the signs.
1. Unexplained Expenditures
First, you should make a habit of consistently checking your bank account. Every day, you should log onto your account and make sure there isn't any odd activity going on.
Seeing unexplained expenditures in your account, especially from other cities, states, or countries is one of the most obvious signs of identity theft. If you find irregular activity in your account, call your bank right away, assuming they haven't already notified you.
2. You're Not Getting Bills or Other Mail
Often, to avoid getting caught, identity thieves will make sure they forward all the mail associated with their activity on your dime to their own homes or a P.O. box.
This is most common with credit cards. Someone who steals your credit card and starts racking up the charges will often change the billing information so you will be slower to catch on. This gives them more time to spend your money.
3. You Get Bills for Services You Didn't Use
On the alternate side of things, one of the most common signs of identity theft is when you start receiving bills for services you haven't used. In this case, an identity thief has stolen your credit card or bank information but didn't bother to change your billing information.
In this scenario, you may start receiving bills for medical services, subscription services, phone lines, gym membership, and more.
4. Problems with Your Credit Report
One of the more upsetting signs of identity theft is when you start having trouble with your credit score. Often, victims of identity theft find out after being denied for a loan based on issues in the credit report.
You could be negotiating a car loan or mortgage only to find out your credit is so scorches that you can't be approved for anything. Unfortunately, even though you can quickly resolve all your bank issues, it will take time to build your credit back up.
5. Issues with Your Online Passwords
Finally, if you're suddenly experiencing problems with one or more of your online passwords, it may be a sign of identity theft. Depending on what types of activities a thief is engaging in, they may want access to your online accounts.
This can include bank accounts, shopping accounts, and even social media accounts. Being locked out of your accounts can be incredibly difficult. However, there are security protocols to get your account back into your hands and reset the passwords.
Prevention is Key
While being able to spot the signs of identity theft is important to limit the damaged caused by thieves, learning how to prevent it could save you a lot of headaches. There are several steps you can take to improve your security online, but you can also take more physical steps to prevent people from getting into your purse or handbag.
Take a look at some of our anti-theft handbags to start improving your security today.