A recent study found that there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft in 2017, combining for a total loss of $16.8 billion.1 Still to this day, one of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft is to spot and stop the financial damage early. Here are a few ways how.
- You check your credit report and find an account you don't recognize. Checking your credit report annually or signing up for a credit-monitoring service (free for customers of some financial institutions) is one of the best ways to quickly spot identity theft. Ask your credit card company or bank if they offer customers free credit monitoring.
- You check your credit card statement and see transactions you didn't make. Checking your statements regularly can help you identify fraud and errors. If you see a small charge you don't recognize, don't brush it off as unimportant. Fraudsters often charge a small amount to test whether a stolen credit card number is still valid.
- Bills stop coming.If you're used to receiving paper or emailed statements from your credit card company, utility provider, cell provider, or insurance company, be wary if you stop getting them. One way identity thieves cover their tracks is by changing the mailing address on an account or discontinuing paper statements.
- You’re declined for a loan. Unfortunately, many consumers don't find out that they've been victimized until they discover that fraudulent activity has tanked their credit. If you apply for a loan and are denied for bad credit, immediately check your credit and begin the dispute process for any fraudulent accounts.
Identity theft and financial fraud can be expensive and time-consuming to fix. Spotting the warning signs and acting quickly can help minimize the damage. If you believe that you have been the victim of identity theft, immediately contact the three credit reporting agencies and your financial institutions. You may also have to file a report with your local police department.
The content within this presentation is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Customers should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own situation. This presentation is not an offer to purchase, sell or exchange any product. Insurance products and any related guarantees are based upon the claims paying ability of an insurance company. Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results.