Accurate statistics about identity theft are difficult to come by because it is underreported and often people don’t know that they have been victims. One thing is certain though, it has become mainstream and anyone can be a victim. Fraud protection services can help keep you from being the next victim.
A fraud protection service works by promptly alerting you if they detect certain changes, particularly those in your credit file. The best fraud protection service will also monitor your public records. The sooner you catch the fraud, the easier it will be for you to clean up the mess and take action to help to prevent it from happening again.
If you do not use a fraud protection service and are an identity theft victim, you will usually find out one of four ways:
- Many people have no idea what the status of their credit is until they need it. As far as they know, their credit is good, but then then apply for a mortgage or another loan and are turned down.
- Ripped off.
- It is a clear indication that you have been a victim if your credit card statement contains charges that you did not make. Another obvious sign is a statement for a card that you didn’t know you had, or an undeserved notice from tax authorities.
- Collection calls.
- Dreaded collection calls are bad enough when you actually owe money, but calls for debts that you never incurred mean a problem. It is not a good idea to try to convince them that you are not the person they are looking for – even if they were to believe you they have no way to verify this information. Ask them what the name of the company that says that you owe money is, and contact them directly.
- Missing mail.
- Don’t blow it off if you don’t receive a monthly statement or bill. It may have been stolen for the personal information, or a criminal may have hijacked the account, changing the address associated with it to make it less likely that you notice the fraudulent charges.