There are thousands of articles available to provide tips on how to avoid having your financial information or identity stolen. Some of these are common sense items such as shielding the keypad when entering sensitive data on a public telephone or at an ATM. Others require a bit of technical savvy, such as checking to make sure your on-line purchase is secure, never allowing your credit card information to be stored by merchants on-line, and never using on-line passwords that are easily guessed or that you use for other things. This is all great advice. But how do you know you’ve been victimized? And once you establish that you have been, what steps must you take to protect your assets and stop the theft?
How do I know I am a victim?
Identity theft is used to cover a wide variety of crimes, from common theft of credit card numbers to thieves who start entire false financial lives using your personal information. This sort of theft is more complicated to identify but has the potential to be financially devastating Aadhar Card Download by Name and Date of Birth.
To determine if your card number has been stolen, check your credit card and bank statements for accuracy. Keeping detailed records of the transactions you and your family make is the key to knowing what might be fraudulent. If you see charges that you did not make, chances are your card details have been stolen. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only way to steal a credit or debit card is to physically take it. Target Stores’ recent breach, where over 40 million credit card numbers, including expiration dates, names and CCV codes, were stolen simply by having been used at the register in a Target store. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common way to steal credit card information.
Full identity theft involves more than just the theft of a credit card number. Identity thieves find personal information about you, such as your social security number and date of birth. With this information, they can open new accounts (that are approved based on your good credit history).
To determine if someone is using your personal information to establish fraudulent credit accounts, loans or other accounts that have been opened in your name is a little more complicated. Often these criminals open lines of credit using your personal information but a different address, so you wouldn’t know anything was wrong until the thieves defaulted on the loan or didn’t pay the account. In that case, the creditor would come looking for you, and would find your real address by using your credit report. If you receive a notice claiming you owe money to a creditor you do not have an account with, do not ignore it. It may be an indication you have been an identity theft victim. Similarly, if you begin to receive credit card statements for cards you do not own, the same may be true.
Often by the time you start receiving statements, you have been a victim for quite a while. The best way to be alerted immediately to potentially fraudulent information is to monitor your credit using one of several on-line services available for that purpose. These services will alert you via email whenever something new appears on your credit history, including new addresses, new loans, and new credit accounts. They will also alert you when an established account has a dramatic change in value; for example if your credit card balance goes suddenly from $300 to $5000.
What should I do first?
If you see transactions on your debit card or credit card that you did not make, the first thing to do is to contact your bank or financial institution immediately to let them know you are seeing fraudulent charges/debits. You should then have the stolen card or breached account closed immediately. Open a new account and receive new debit/credit cards. Most financial institutions have detailed directions for customers who have a stolen credit or debit card. Follow their advice.