How to Know if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

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  • How to Know if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
12 Jun, 2024
Daniel Cohen
7 min
man looking at his laptop and thinking about how to know he is a identity theft victim

Are you battling with identity theft aftershock? We can help you jumpstart your recovery. Learn how!

Identity theft can strike out of nowhere, and when it does, you don’t have to throw your entire life away. Moving quickly and knowing the correct steps to take can help you make a full recovery. We explain how to know if you’re a victim of identity theft, what to do if you are, and who to contact. Keep reading for more details.

Identity theft is a crime that happens when someone’s personal details are stolen and used for fraudulent purposes. ID theft continues to rapidly spread across the U.S. and the world. If you’ve recently googled, “how to know if you are a victim of identity theft,” chances are you may be a victim. Keep reading to learn some of the major indicators of ID theft: 

  1. Unknown activity on credit reports. One of the ways to discern if you are an identity theft victim is to get a copy of your free credit reports. Once you pull your reports, review them for any unknown activity, such as identity thieves opening accounts in your name. You should act quickly to report and dispute the activity when you notice it.
  2. Unexpected bills or charges. If you start getting bills or collection notices for products or services you never agreed to, that's a sign of identity theft. For example - if you get a bill for a new pool you never had installed chances are someone has targeted you, and you may be an identity theft victim. Of course, that’s just one of several examples, but you get the gist. Please note that sometimes the charges may be more subtle and you may overlook them because it’s not an expensive purchase like a new pool, but you shouldn’t overlook any unexpected bills. Every charge and every dollar counts when fighting identity theft. 
  3. Your financial institutions contact you. If you get a message from your bank or other financial institutions alerting you of suspicious activity or that someone is attempting to make purchases that you never consented to, this is usually a clear sign that you should investigate. 
  4. Unknown medical bills. Anytime you receive medical bills for medical services you never received, it is a cause for concern. Just like thieves can open credit accounts in your name, they can also get medical services with your personal information. If you get bills for procedures that you never had or from doctors that you've never seen, you may have a medical identity theft situation on your hands. 
  5. Passwords no longer work. If you attempt to log into your accounts but are unable to access them (your email, bank account or other online accounts) because your password or login credentials were changed without your consent, that is a sign that your accounts have been compromised. As soon as you know about the breach, call those providers to freeze or lock the accounts and reset your passwords. Remember to always use unique and strong passwords because these are harder to guess. 
  6. Excessive calls from creditors. If there is an unusual change in the number of calls you’re receiving from creditors or debt collectors, a scammer may have opened accounts in your name and failed to pay the bills resulting in an increase in debt collection attempts.

Which Action is Best if You Suspect You're the Victim of Identity Theft?

Now that you know what to look for when determining if a person may be a victim of identity theft, you should take action right away. The best action is to get help from identity theft attorneys who have ID theft recovery experience. 

Along with contacting an attorney you should contact the credit bureaus and request that your credit profiles be frozen or locked. Also contact your financial institutions (banks and credit card companies) for their assistance. Banks may suggest closing accounts as the best option because even after your credit is frozen or locked, thieves can still open bank accounts in your name. On the other hand, after your credit profile is frozen or locked, it is very difficult for scammers to open additional credit accounts in your name due to the safeguards that are in place.

Be sure to file complaints with the police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your local police will supply you with a police report (this will come in handy later) and the FTC will allow you to file a report about the ID theft and any other scams you may have fallen victim to. 

After contacting those entities mentioned above, consider putting fraud alerts and advanced credit monitoring on any accounts that remain open. If all else fails and you have proof that you are a victim of ID theft, you can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and request a new Social Security number. You will have to do that by visiting an office in your local area or making an appointment.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

An attorney can help by providing you with guidance on how to navigate the often complicated and time-consuming process it takes to bounce back after identity theft. Here are some of the ways a consumer attorney will help.

  • Legal advice. Consumer Attorneys spend endless hours studying and researching the most updated laws. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of the Fair Credit Reporting ACT (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other consumer protection laws. This means that when it comes to providing the most relevant and effective advice, our attorneys are your best bet! 
  • Fight fraudulent accounts. We will help you collect evidence to support your claim of identity theft. During this process we can collect bank records and documents to prove that there was fraudulent activity on your account. We will also draft any paperwork you need and submit it in a timely manner.
  • Clean up your consumer reports. One of the biggest advantages of working with our attorneys is that we help you clean up your consumer (credit) reports. Identity theft takes a huge toll on your credit report and we work directly with you and the credit bureaus to have the negative, fraudulent remarks and reporting removed according to the FCRA.
  • Prevent unwanted debt collection calls. When working to clean up your credit and rebuild your life, there is often harassing correspondence (calls, emails, mail, etc.) from debt collectors. Our attorneys will put an end to the harassment! 
  • Legal representation. We provide you with full legal representation! We collect documents and evidence, conduct interviews, draft legal documents, and submit paperwork to the court for you. We will also negotiate a settlement for you or go to trial when it is necessary. It is critical that you have proper legal representation if you are being offered a settlement to ensure you are not lowballed and cheated out of the money you rightfully deserve. During our representation, you can rest knowing that we help to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf from start to finish.

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Daniel Cohen is the Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys
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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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