6 On Your Side Answers – Signs of identity theft

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Identity theft continues to snare millions of unsuspecting victims into its net every year.

Credit card fraud declined 15% last year according to government reports, but too many people are still victimized.

Credit Report Changes

  • When you check your credit report, keep an eye out for charges and accounts that you don’t recognize.
  • This can be evidence that an identity thief has gotten into your credit accounts and has made charges, which then are reported on your credit report.
  • Checking your credit is a smart habit to adopt.
  • It’s easy to do, and you are entitled by law to three free reports annually.

Rejected Health Claims

  • Another sign of trouble is when your health insurer rejects your legitimate medical claim.
  • Perhaps because their records indicate that you’ve reached the limit of your benefits.
  • This happens when thieves target someone’s medical account, consuming all the benefits so you can’t make a legitimate claim.
  • Data breaches in medical offices and phishing emails are two ways that medical identity theft happens, identity thieves use phishing email scams to trick consumers into sharing personal information.

Merchant Declines Check

  • If you are someone who balances your checkbook and pays bills on time each month, you may be shocked if, out of the blue, a merchant refuses your personal check.
  • It could be a sign that a thief has been using your bank account.
  • Stolen perhaps during a phishing email when you were tricked to share your account number.

Unexplained Medical Bills

  • You may be puzzled if you receive a bill from a doctor or other medical provider for services you didn’t use.
  • If this happens, be suspicious.
  • A thief may have managed to get your health insurance information and use it to receive medical care, leaving you with the bill.
  • Take action quickly. Report the breach to your medical provider and your health insurance company.

Lost Wallet

  • Oh, no! You lost your wallet. Has that ever happened to you?
  • In it were your Social Security card, health insurance card, bank and credit cards, and driver’s license.
  • It’s a good idea to assume that your personal data can quickly fall into the hands of a thief.
  • You should act fast. Call your bank call and credit card companies right away to report the loss and close accounts.

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