The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the following list of warning signs that your identity may have been stolen:
- Accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain
- Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports, including accounts and personal information, such as your Social Security Number, address, name or initials, or employer
- Failing to receive bills or other mail (this could indicate that an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address—follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time)
- Receiving credit cards that you didn’t apply for
- Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high interest rate, for no apparent reason
- Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
- You may find out when bill collection agencies contact you for overdue debts debts you never incurred.
- You may find out when you apply for a mortgage or car loan and learn that problems with your credit history are holding up the loan.
- You may find out when you get something in the mail about an apartment you never rented, a house you never bought, or a job you never held.
The most efficient way to protect your identity is with an identity theft protection service and get a credit freeze.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. Disclosures.