Technological advances in the financial-services industry have brought great convenience to our lives but unfortunately, these advances have also given cybercriminals an opportunity to steal valuable personal information.
Unfortunately, even after taking the most stringent precautions, your information can sometimes still end up in the wrong hands.
Below are some warning signs of identity theft and steps to take if you suspect that your identity has been stolen.
- You start receiving declined letters from credit cards you never requested.
- You see activity that you can’t explain on your bank statement.
- You receive a notification from the IRS that you filed more than one tax return or a W-2 indicating that you earned money from a company you never worked for.
- You stop getting your bills and other mail.
Once you see the signs, act quickly:
- Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred.
- Place a fraud alert with one of the three credit agencies and review the latest copy of your credit report.
- Change your login credentials for your bank and other financial institutions’ websites. Also consider changing your login credentials for all of your email accounts. When changing your passwords, do not use the same password for your email and bank accounts.
- Report your identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- File a report with your local police department.
Source: IdentityTheft.gov (Federal Trade Commission)
We hope you never have to take the steps listed above, but as with investing, it’s always best to have a plan in place to handle the unexpected. For more information about identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at https://www.identitytheft.gov/.