Warning Signs of Identity Theft (more accurately – when someone fraudulently impersonates you in order to obtain credit or steal money).
You noticed one the following things happening:
You go to check your bank balance and money is missing from your account. This can happen if someone impersonates you and persuades the bank to transfer funds, for example through a compromised login to an online bank account. Before online banking existed, they might have done the same by forging your signature on a cheque. Contact your bank to get your login details changed, and claim the money back.
If a credit card statement arrives for a credit card you don’t have, or a bill arrives for something you haven’t bought, from a company you don’t know. This is a major warning sign and you must contact the organisation involved and persuade them it wasn’t you who made those purchases. If they don’t believe you right away, it may end up damaging your credit record.
When solicitors or debt collection agencies start contacting you about a debt or loan you’ve never heard of before, owed to a company you haven’t bought anything from. This can happen when a criminal has applied for credit in your name. They buy items they can quickly and anonymously turn into cash – such as mobile phones and laptop computers. When the company they signed up with doesn’t receive a payment, they will start debt collection proceedings. This is another way your credit rating can be damaged.
Sometimes what’s more important is what HASN’T happened.
Look out something not being billed to your credit card. For example; you go to a restaurant, pay the bill, but it doesn’t show-up on your credit card statement. Don’t assume it is a mistake. Scammers working in the restaurant will steal your credit card details and use them later, but because there’s nothing on your bill you may forget to tell an investigator that it’s one of occasions when your card may have been compromised.
Your monthly bank or credit card statements stop arriving. Some scams involve the impersonator contacting your bank or credit card company and changing the address. This is to delay being caught, or can be so they have “proof” of of that new address to gain even more money using your good name.
You were refused credit for that new sofa or turned down when applying for a store card. If you have a good credit rating and you are denied credit, you should suspect something may be wrong. Get a credit report straight away.
The same can happen if you apply for benefits but are refused because their records show that you are already claiming. That is an indication that someone is using your details to commit benefit fraud.
Each of these reporting agencies might have different information about you, because they get their information from different lenders. If you are victim of fraudulent impersonation, you should consider getting a report from all three agencies.
What should I look for on a credit report?
When you get your credit report, look for anything that you do not recognise such as:
- A store card that you haven’t applied for
- Mobile phone contract that you didn’t take out
- Credit agreements you don’t recognise for electrical goods or other big ticket items
If you do see something suspicious, contact the company named on the credit report immediately. Stay calm and keep records of who you talked to and on what date. It’s often better to write, and keep any copy of letters you send.
These websites have top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent impersonation:
Source: The E-Victims Organisation