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Wait…That’s Not Me! Identity Theft

Picture this: You’re sorting through your bills for the month, and you notice a handful of transactions you don’t remember making. You confer with other members of your family and they don’t recognize the set of transactions either. What could have happened?

Unfortunately, your identity may have been compromised.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when someone other than you uses your personal or financial information without permission. Once someone has your information, he or she can purchase items with your credit card, open new credit cards in your name, open a phone, electricity, or gas account in your name, steal your tax refund, use your health insurance to get medical care, or pretend to be you if they are arrested.

Signs your identity was stolen

Figuring out your identity has been stolen is a bit like putting a puzzle together. As you start to see certain transactions, you may notice some “pieces” are not part of your puzzle. A few signs your identity was stolen may include: seeing accounts you don’t recognize when checking your credit report, reviewing transactions on your credit card or bank statement and not knowing what they are, or if the IRS says more than one tax return have been submitted in your name.

What to do if your identity is stolen

Let your credit card companies and financial institutions know right away if your identity has been compromised so accounts can be monitored and locked, cards can be re-issued, and they can work with you on appropriate steps to take. Next, visit the FTC’s site IdentityTheft.gov for their step-by-step guidance on reporting.