How stolen information gets used
If your identity is stolen, the following may happen:
- Credit card accounts that are opened in your name and become delinquent can do massive damage to your credit report.
- Your ATM card may be cloned and funds may be withdrawn from your checking or savings account.
- A loan may be taken out in your name, further damaging your credit.
- Individuals may use your driver’s license information to have an official ID created using your information.
- Individuals may use your Social Security number to secure government benefits.
How to Tell if Your Identity Has Been Stolen
- You may receive calls or letters from debt collectors or creditors for merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
- You notice accounts you didn’t open or debt that cannot be explained.
- You may fail to receive bills or other mail you would normally receive.
- You may be denied credit or receive higher interest rates for no apparent reason.
What to Do if Your Identity is Stolen
- File a police report: once filed, this is considered an Identity Theft Report. It can be used to block fraudulent information resulting from identity theft, such as addresses or accounts from your credit report. This will also ensure these will not reappear at a later date.
- Notify creditors immediately, as investigations can take several weeks or even months to resolve.
- Dispute any unauthorized transactions as soon as they are discovered with your bank or credit institution.
- Monitor financial records for several months, requesting credit reports every three months for the first year after the theft and once a year thereafter.