Four Signs Your Identity Could Be In Danger

Man, on the phone, struggling with identity theft.

Identity theft can happen when you least expect it. With shopping online for bargains, going the extra mile for discounts could put your personal information at a higher risk. And individuals may only realize their identity has been stolen when they are notified by a government agency or financial institution. Don’t let this happen to you. Stay on top of these warning signs that your identity could be in someone else’s hands.

Discovering unfamiliar charges on your bank statements

Your monthly statement is the final record to view charges made to your accounts. In 2022, 44% of credit card users reported having two or more fraudulent charges. Even small, inexpensive charges you might not recognize could indicate identity theft. If you receive physical statements in the mail, consider changing them to electronic delivery, as the ability to view them at any time can help you recover your identity more quickly if it were to be stolen.

Receiving calls from creditors or debt collectors

You probably get dozens of calls from unknown phone numbers, but do you listen to the voicemail they leave? You might want to start. Random calls from creditors or debt collectors could be a red flag that a scammer has made purchases on your behalf. It’s worth going out of your way to answer or return calls from random numbers which could help you better know the status of your identity. If you are inconsistent with reviewing your monthly bank statements, this could be a sign your bank account information has been compromised.

Discovering new credit accounts or inquiries

Consumers are entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from all three reporting agencies. It’s important to review your complete report of payment history and credit inquiries for any unfamiliar inquiries or errors. Any unauthorized inquiries could be a sign of identity theft, especially an unfamiliar hard inquiry pull. Consumers are required to receive notice if a hard pull is being performed on their credit score. If you discover a hard pull and believe you did not receive notice, dispute the inquiry with the company listed as well as the three reporting agencies.

Missing mail and failed payment notices

If you notice your bills are missing or receive a failed payment notice, you may be a victim of mail theft. From October 2022 to April 2023, the U.S. Postal Service says more than 300 mail carriers were robbed — a higher rate than the previous year. Thieves could have access to your information, such as account numbers and your address, which could result in new accounts to be opened or even a change to your current address. Contact your local U.S Postal Service immediately if you notice a change in your mail.  

Identity thieves are continuing to find new ways to steal your information. And the first step in protecting yourself is knowing the signs. If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft, contact your financial institution and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission immediately.