Image of screen with a digital blue lock in the middle of a circle of code in front of other digital pictures to show that your identity can be stolen online

How to Find Out if Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Having your identity stolen is an awful even, but how do you even know if it’s happened to you? Did someone simply skim your card or is it something worse? Here are some ways that can help you discover if your identity has been stolen.

Credit Reports

Every year, you can get a free credit report from all three of the major credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Looking at these reports can help you see if there has been any fraudulent activity, such as credit inquiries or credit accounts that you have not opened. There may even be debt that you haven’t opened. If you’ve already received your credit report this year, then you can purchase one from each company for no more than $12 per report. While it may seem costly, it’s one of the best ways to find out if your identity has been stolen. 

Social Security Identity Theft Check

Your social security number is usually one of the main targets for criminals who want to steal your identity. It’s important to check your social security often to see if there has been suspicious activity regarding your account. You can do this easily by going to the Social Security Administration's website. Here, you can do something you can’t do at other sites—look at your earning records. If any of the data is wrong, then you may have been a target for identity theft.

Missing or Additional Bills

Many people don’t think about their bills when they fail to get them in the mail. Paying your bills online has become a common trend for most households, but you should still pay attention if you aren’t getting your bills through the mail. When a thief steals your identity, they may change the address of your bills as a way to get continuous information about you. Additionally, receiving bills for accounts that you haven’t opened could mean that someone used your information to get a credit card, utilities, or some other debt.

Maxed Accounts

Receiving a letter that you’re at your benefit limit or that your credit card is beyond limits is never good, especially if you aren’t the one using these services. Receiving a letter in the mail telling you that your accounts are at their limits but you know you haven’t used the services is a good way to tell if your identity has been stolen. You can contact your insurance and credit card companies to ask for an identity theft check to go over charges and remove ones that are fraudulent. 

Letters in the Mail

Nowadays, it seems like there are more data breaches than ever. Of course, getting one of these letters in the mail is a good way to tell that your personal data could be in jeopardy. You may think that avoiding store credit cards is a way to prevent data breaches, but even the federal government can be breached. Receiving one of these letters could mean that your information is compromised and you should move forward with a plan that will recover your identity.

Last Updated: December 13, 2018