Money Date: Identity Theft
What is the Money Date? A weekly time to check in. 3 things we review and update:
“I don’t need to worry about identity theft because no one wants to be me.” — Jay London
Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud.
Types of ID theft:
- Child (goes on for years undetected)
- Tax (filing fraudulent tax returns)
- Medical (uses your health insurance or Medicare card to get medical services)
- Senior (another vulnerable group)
- Social (your names, photos and other personal info to create accounts on various social media profiles)
How do we know if the identity theft happened?
Identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number or other personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund. You might get a notice from the IRS or find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report. You might notice strange withdrawals from your bank account, get bills that aren’t yours, or get calls about debts that you don’t owe. Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
What to do right away?
If you see one of these warning signs of identity theft, act quickly. Taking these steps will help you limit the damage. IdentityTheft.gov will guide you through each step.
- Call the companies where you know fraud occurred.
- Change your passwords, logins, and pins
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and get copies of your report. There is a free 90-day alert you can set up. You can renew it again in 90 days. Contact credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax & Transunion) and let them know. They will also send you a letter in the mail confirming fraud alert.
- Get your free credit report from annualcreditreprot.com
- Report identity theft to the FTC. This will allow FTC to help you create a recovery plan depending on what information was stolen.
- File a report with your local police department. Provide report you filed with FTC as evidence.
There is definitely a lot to do. Then, take a deep breath and begin to repair the damage. Depending on your situation, your next step might be closing accounts opened in your name or reporting fraudulent charges to your credit card company. IdentityTheft.gov resource has a lot of useful information.
Watch the latest Money Date to learn more, including some other best practices for protecting your identity.