How to Tell if You’re an Identity Theft Victim
August 7, 2007
Many times people will never realize they are an identity theft victim until they apply for credit. Like to buy a car or get a mortgage. A lot of new credit approvals will lower your score because of the higher amount of money you can borrow. This can happen because you personally have been applying or because a thief has used your identity for his own personal gain. Anytime your credit score is low, you’ll pay a higher interest rate.
Sometimes it even affects your premiums for your car insurance. Many auto insurers run a credit report on your before giving you a quote. Seems if you have a lower credit score, they consider you a higher risk driver. They’ll charge you more than a person with a score of 700 or above.
But that scenario above is for the lucky ones.
Here’s the unlucky scene….
The first time you get an inkling that your identity has been stolen is a call from a collections agency. The bills are way overdue now and you’re out of any grace period. At this point, your credit has been dinged pretty hard and your score is down there with the bottom feeders.
You may also get something in the mail about an apartment you never rented, a job you never had or a house you never bought. This is serious stuff – don’t ignore it. Immediately call the number on the letter to see what it’s about. And right after that, get a credit report from Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Yes, from all three.
You can keep a check on your credit to avoid any big surprises by getting a credit report every month. The credit reporting agencies will sell you a service that reports to you any changes or new accounts under your social security number. They will monitor them for you. Be aware that not all three agencies have the same information at the same time. If you have Equifax monitoring but they don’t pick up on a change, you won’t know. I have personally found discrepancies in my credit report numerous times. Don’t assume monitoring one agency is full protection.
Preventing identity theft is so much easier than fixing it.