Identity Theft – A Risk to Your Credit Score?

In October of 2014, an identity theft ring was busted by the local and federal authorities. It was reported that five people had been accused of stealing customer information from an American luxury department store. The accused had spent nearly $400,000 on designer shoes and bags, which were later sold on the black market. Out of the five accused, four were employees of that store. The shocking revelation gives rise to an important question regarding the state of security of our financial accounts.

Identity theft is a chronic problem in the United States. The losses that you could suffer if falling victim to identity theft can be overwhelming. Detecting identity theft at the early stages is crucial, preventing it is even better. The worst part is that identity theft can have a negative impact on your credit report and may even bring down your credit score. You may need to work with a credit repair specialist to rebuild and repair your credit score if you have been a victim of identity theft.

Signs of Identity Theft-

If you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft, it is important to act quickly to prevent further damage. Here are some of the warning signs that indicate that you have become a victim of identity theft:

  • Receiving bills from a credit account you did not open

  • Unauthorized charges on your credit card bill, bank statement or long distance calling charges.

  • Being contacted by a collection agency regarding a debt that you did not incur

  • You’re unable to obtain insurance or you’ve been refused a credit card, loan, mortgage or other credit because of the presence of unauthorized debt on your credit report

  • Your credit report shows unauthorized accounts or inquiries.

Steps to Take:

Check your bank statements and credit reports - The first step is to check your bank statements and credit report to see if there are any suspicious charges. Make a list of the items that you didn’t purchase and get in touch with your bank as soon as possible. Request that they start an investigation, cancel any false charges and place a fraud alert on your account.

Protect your personal information - Protect your personal information from sales associates. Never share personal information such as your Social Security Number (SSN) or date of birth via email or to anyone who can not verify their credibility with you first.

The bottom line is you need to protect your identity and safeguard your personal information.If you have any questions, contact us today.