Contributed By: Jon Freeman
Once identity thieves have your personal information and steal your identify they can try to get medical treatment on your health insurance or open a bank account in your name. An identity thief could also take money out of your bank account or put charges on your credit cards. Someone who steals your identity can file a tax return in your name and try to get your refund. An identity thief might even apply for credit in your name like opening credit cards and getting loans for a house or car – as if he or she was you. In some extreme cases, a thief could even give your name and personal information to the the authorities when being arrested. Protecting your identity is very important, and having your identity stolen can cause a lot of problems. How would you know if your identity had been stolen? What are some signs of possible identity theft? According the the Federal Trade Commission, this is a list of warning signs of identity theft you should look out for:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
For more information about identity theft and what you can do about it visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission. If you are looking for information on more personal finance topics feel free to visit the Gwinnett Library’s Personal Finance GCPL Guide.