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How to Tell if Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Seeing unknown credit card charges on your statement is a given. These other occurrences should tip you off to a stolen ID.

10 Ways to Tell Your ID Has Been Stolen

Unauthorized transactions

Don’t just toss your credit card and bank statements aside. Take a few minutes to give them a thorough eye. Thieves often run small charges to test whether a large one will go through later. A ding for a few dollars you don’t remember could be a sign your financial info ended up in the wrong hands and can result in identity theft. Remember, some companies bill under a name you won’t recognize. Do a quick search, and if you’re still unsure, contact your financial institution.

Missing bills or mail

If your paper bills have suddenly gone missing, do some digging. If someone has broken into your account, he or she could have changed your address on file to divert mail. Stay even safer, and do mother nature a solid, with paperless billing. Find out what to do if your identity is stolen.

Rejected for a credit card or loan

If you’re not in the habit of checking your credit report, a declined loan or credit card could be your first clue that a thief has impacted your credit. If you are unexpectedly rejected for a loan or card, dig into your credit report and find out where the fault lies.

Your tax return is denied

Though tax-related identity theft is down in recent years, it still affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The telltale sign: You submit your taxes and file for a return, only to get a notification that your return has already been filed. Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to file a tax return, claiming a refund. If this happens, contact the IRS immediately.

Errors on your credit report

Do you ignore your credit report and hope for the best? Not a sound strategy. Regularly reviewing your credit report is the only way to see the full picture of your finances. Plus, you can flag any issues and spot inconsistencies that could mean your identity has been compromised. Here’s why you should consider identity theft protection.

Authentication alerts

Two-factor authentication keeps your accounts safer and can alert you to suspicious behavior if you receive one unrequested. If you receive a text, email or other alert with an authentication code you didn’t ask for, contact the corresponding institution. Email authentications often include directions if you didn’t request it. Keep your identity safe in the digital age.

Data breach

Companies that collect your data are required to notify you of a data breach. Don’t just ignore those notifications. Follow the instructions in the email (you’ll likely be prompted to change your password), and use it as a reminder to be a little more vigilant about clicking suspicious links or downloading unexplained attachments. In the case of a more egregious breach, the offending institution may even offer to pay for identity theft monitoring or other services to help protect you. Take them up on it!

A new credit card arrives

We’ll say it again: Getting something you didn’t ask for is often a sign of trouble. If a credit card or store charge card arrives with your name on it — and it’s not just a sales tactic to get you to sign up — contact the company. It’s likely someone used your information to sign up for the card but, fortunately for you, it ended up at your address.

Collections calls

Getting fishy calls for unfamiliar debt? That’s a red flag. Ask for as much information you can about the money owed, and get in contact with your bank’s fraud department as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of stolen identity.

Medical bills

Open any medical bills you get in the mail and be sure you received the services listed. If you get bill that doesn’t look familiar, contact the hospital or medical provider and ask for clarification. It could be a mix up, but medical fraud is an all-too-common occurrence.


When it comes to your identity, the unexpected often means trouble. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent today to get protected.