credit cardsBy Daisy Chan
The latest scams to steal your personal information are scarily simple-and effective. Learn how to protect yourself by following the steps below. Photo by: iStock
If your identity is stolen, follow these five steps:
1. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports. You only have to contact one credit bureau (Equifax.com, Experian.com or TransUnion.com). They, in turn, will alert the other two.
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2. Get copies of your credit reports. Once you place a fraud alert, you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. Check each report for unauthorized charges.
3. Notify your bank, creditors and utility companies about any affected accounts. Speak to someone in the security or fraud department; follow up in writing.
4. Call 877-IDTHEFT or visit FTC.gov to alert the Federal Trade Commission.
5. File a police report. It will be helpful if creditors want proof of a crime.
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5 Signs of Identity Theft
1. Your mail goes missing. If you stop receiving bills, bank statements or other mail, it could mean that an ID thief has changed the address on those accounts.
2. You're denied a credit card, a loan or a mortgage, even though you have an excellent credit history. Someone may have racked up charges in your name that were never paid, destroying your credit rating.
3. You receive bills for goods or services you didn't buy. The unexpected bills are a red flag that your credit card information was most likely stolen.
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4. You're bombarded with calls from collection agencies about unpaid charges you never made.
5. After you file your taxes, you're notified by the IRS that someone has already filed under your name and social security number. Now she has your tax refund.
SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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