If you are a victim of identity theft or know someone that is, the Federal Trade Commission has an identity theft website setup (identitytheft.gov) where you can report an event. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through various recovery plans and processes based on the type of identity theft you have been exposed to. Note: I also encourage victims to contact and file a report with their State Police so that there is record of the event (at the local level) and to alert the police to a trend that may be occurring in their jurisdiction.
Identify theft can occur through breaches of your credit card account; telephone, mobile or utility accounts; debit, checking or savings accounts; employment or taxes; government benefits or IDs (such as your Social Security Number); loans or leases; AND, other accounts such as internet accounts, medical accounts, insurance accounts, investment accounts, etc…
Clues that someone stole your information are:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
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