You’ve just received a call from your creditor reminding you of an unpaid bill. You’re sure you didn’t make the purchase. What could be happening?
The chances are you’re a victim of identity theft. Identity theft starts with the stealing of your Social Security Number (SSN). Once identity thieves get hold of your SSN, they can do all sorts of fraudulent activities, leaving you with untold financial problems that would take you years to fix.
Getting bills for purchases you didn’t make is just one of the signs that your SSN has been stolen or compromised. Here are some other common signs:
- Unauthorized Transactions In Your Accounts
If you notice transactions that you didn’t authorize in your bank account, credit account, or brokerage account, then someone is probably using your SSN. The first action you should take is identifying the specific transactions and filing a police report.
You can then demand that the institution stops the fraudulent transactions and compensate you for any damages. To identify fraudulent activities in your accounts early enough, you’re advised to monitor your financial accounts and credit reports on a regular basis.
- Your Tax Return Doesn’t Go Through
You’ve done everything correctly, but your electronically filed tax return gets rejected every time you try to submit it. It is like that an identity thief has used your SSN to file a bogus tax return in your name. Fraudsters normally do this to claim fraudulent refunds.
Speaking of refunds, if you receive a refund you didn’t request, it could also be a sign of identity theft.
- Your Credit Score Is Suspiciously Inaccurate
If you review your credit report and notice that your credit record score is doubtfully high or low, it’s probably the work of an identity thief.
In that case, you should get in touch with the credit reporting agency and inform them of the specific information that you think is inaccurate on your credit score. You can then lodge a formal complaint, in writing, stating that your credit score is incorrect.
If you believe this is a result of a stolen Social Security number, you should also consider applying for an SS Card Replacement.
- Your Employer Informs You Of A Data Security Breach
If a fraudster lays their hands on your SSN and your current employer’s details, they can use the information to claim unemployment benefits in your name. However, how does this happen?
Criminals will normally check your social media for any information that you’ve just taken up a new job or just quit a job. They can use the information to claim various benefits in your name.
The first step to fixing the damages resulting from a compromised or stolen SSN is to be able to tell if your SSN has indeed been compromised. Common signs that your SSN has been compromised include various issues with your financial accounts, getting bills for purchases that you know nothing about, rejected tax return, and incorrect credit scores.