It can be a scary thought that somebody could be using your identity, especially if it means that they must know a lot of information about you. Luckily though, there are some ways that you can find out if someone is using your identity. So that you can put a stop to it as soon as possible.
7 ways to check if someone stole your identity
1. Look for any missing mail
This is a good way to check identity theft. If you are finding that your mail has been going missing recently, you have to check with your bill providers that your address is the current one.
It is also suggested that instead of a mailbox that anybody can access, you have a lockable mailbox that mail can simply be posted into. It is very easy for somebody to walk past your mailbox and steal your mail; therefore, it is your responsibility to check this and ensure that it is as secure as possible.
2. Rummaged bins
If you have noticed that recently your bins look as though they have been fiddled with or disturbed, then you take note of this and don’t simply let it go unattended to. People will often rummage through bins in the hopes of finding letters with personal information on them.
Then, they can apply for credit cards and other things in your name, which will leave you in the position of having debt in your name that you didn’t acquire yourself.
When disposing of personal mail, it is recommended that you thoroughly shred these letters so that if somebody does get into your bins, the personal information is illegible.
3. Track and review the bills
This is another way to tell if anyone is stealing your identity online. You can track any bills that are due so that if they stop arriving, you can wonder why. Quite often, people that steal someone’s identity will change the billing address of their bills. That way, they can access more of their information in order to build up a profile on them.
When new bills come through, we recommend that you look through them itemized to look for any discrepancies or purchases that you are certain were not you. This is important as quite often, people won’t notice small payments here and there that an identity thief would make, and they know this, which is why they do it and how they get away with it so much.
It is a good idea to check your bills anyway for being overcharged. However, if you are worried that somebody may have stolen your identity, it is even more crucial that you thoroughly analyze any bills that you have to look for anything you know wasn’t your purchase.
4. Check bank accounts
You must regularly check your bank accounts, especially when you have doubts that someone is, in fact, using your identity on the Internet. This is important because often, identity thieves will withdraw small amounts over a long period of time in a way that means you won’t notice. This is dangerous to fall prey to as it can be weeks or even months before you notice what is happening.
5. Check social media
This is a free identity theft check you can do anytime. So, check social media for people using your name, email, or phone number. You can readily search your name or variations of it on social media or dating apps to see if anybody has created a copycat profile of you.
You can also reverse search an image URL to see if it is used elsewhere on the Internet. While it is a common misconception that people only steal identities for their money, it is also just as popular for people to adopt your identity in order to coax money out of others.
Identity thieves will use your photos and information in order to create social media accounts that they then use to scam people into giving them money while pretending to be you. This can prove very awkward if the person that was scammed searches for your information or reports the account that they believe to be you, as it may look like you are the original scammer.
6. Weird mail
If you have begun to find yourself receiving mail for things that you are sure that you haven’t applied for, this could be a sign that somebody is using your identity and signing up for websites or loans in your name.
This can be very dangerous and financially damaging to you. So if you start to receive weird mail, it is crucial to address this immediately. You can address this by reaching out to the businesses that are contacting you and finding out why they think there is anything in your name and when these accounts were made on PayPal etc…
7. Are there missing documents?
Nowadays, you need to ensure that you have all of your important documents ready to hand at all times and that they don’t find their way lost. Sadly, when some people might return missing documents, not everybody is this way inclined. Some people would find your lost documents and then use them for their own personal benefit.
With your personal information, a person can open a store account, apply for a credit card and even apply for a loan. That is why it is so essential that you don’t even lose your ID or important documents.
What to do if you’re a victim of identity theft?
If you think that somebody is using your identity for their own benefit or purposes, then change all of your passwords to something new that you have not used before and make sure it is one that isn’t easily guessable.
You must also contact any company that you have regular bills with in order to clarify you are the sole account holder and nobody else should be involved. You can also contact any company that is mailing you in order to clarify that you should not be held accountable for the accounts that they are mailing you about.
If you follow all of the steps above, you will vastly increase the chances of not having your identity stolen and will be equipped with the knowledge to protect yourself better.