Seven Signs of Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when personal information such as your name, address, date of birth or contact details are stolen or accessed. It can often lead to identity fraud – when the stolen information is used in fraudulent activity to gain certain goods or services.
Identity thieves and fraudsters can run up a large debt in your name which can take time to prove that the debt is not yours. Additionally while the fraudulent account remains on your credit report, it can damage your credit score making it difficult to apply for a loan, mortgage, or credit card. In order to help prevent the effects of fraud it is useful to recognise when your identity could be being stolen. There are some signs to keep an eye out for that can indicate you are a victim of identity theft.
Missing Documents – Important personal documents, such as your passport or driver’s licence, carry a lot of personal information that could be valuable to identity thieves. If these are missing, someone may be using the information to take out credit or a loan.
Missing Mail – If you are expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, it could indicate that someone is intercepting your mail in order to obtain personal details.
Unrecognised Items – Check your bank statements regularly. If you don’t recognise an entry on your statement contact your bank or credit card provider.
Duplicated Benefit Claims – If you make an application for state benefits and are refused for the reason that you are already claiming, someone may be applying in your name and taking the money.
Solicitor’s Letters – Receiving letters from solicitors, bailiffs, or debt collectors for debts that are not yours, or receiving court summons, would indicate that someone is running up a debt in your name.
Surprise Delivery – If goods you didn’t pay for, such as a laptop, phone, or TV are delivered to your address, it could mean that someone is using your information to pay for goods and services, and simply failed to intercept the goods before they arrived.
Tampered Bins – If your rubbish or recycling bin has been noticeably tampered with, someone may have been searching for thrown away bills or receipts to steal information about you.
If you have been a victim of identity theft it is important to take action as quick as possible. It can help to contact Action Fraud to report the crime, as well as your bank, credit card company, and postal service. For more information on how to prevent identity theft, or to check your Equifax Credit Report & Score (which is free for the first 30 days then £14.95 monthly) for signs of fraudulent activity, visit Equifax.co.uk.
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