If you think you might be a victim of financial identity theft, chances are you very well might be.
Most people that are financial identity theft victims know the person who stole their information. The thieves are not always strangers.
Over the years I’ve seen parents, family members, friends, and roommates steal the financial identity of people they cared about.
What Really is Financial Identity Theft
If someone has your Social Security Number or bank information you are not an identity theft victim. You become a victim when somebody applies for credit in your name without your permission.
I’ve seen all sorts of credit applications applied for by identity thieves. The most common type of transaction is a credit card.
The thief applies for a line of credit or credit card in your name using your personal information. They then pretend to be you as they spend the money using the credit card.
Because the friendly criminal has used a different address than yours then you won’t know you are a victim of this type of crime till collectors start calling.
If you look at your credit report you may see a creditor you don’t recognize. This is a big clue your identity was stolen and used by some crook.
Easy Steps to Prevent Becoming a Victim
To make it harder to become an identity theft victim review your credit reports at least once a year. You can get a copy of each of your major credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.
If you want more protection you can open a free account with CreditKarma to see a couple of your credit reports. You can also get alerts when there is new activity on your credit reports.
What to Do if You Are a Financial Identity Theft Victim
The best site to walk you through the actions you should take if you are a victim is IdentityTheft.gov.
The site will help you to create an identity theft recovery plan and put that plan into action.