One Time Is Too Many With Identity Theft

by Hank Coleman

Protect yourself from identity theftOne time is too many when identity theft is involved, and two times in a week a big flashing warning sign that something is seriously wrong. Last week my wife received a text message saying our cell phone bill was $1,000 this month! Of course that proceeded the panicked phone call that I received from her immediately afterwards. After spending almost thirty minutes on the phone with my cell phone company, it was determined that someone had illegally used my account to order a brand new iPad2 tablet. I was incredibly impressed by the way my cell phone carrier, Verizon Wireless, handled the whole situation.

I would have let it go as bad luck and just changed my passwords and other security features until I received an email from American Express a couple days later. They had detected an irregular purchase on my charge card and requested that I contact them before they approved the charges. Once again I am completely blown away by the steps that companies such as American Express and Verizon Wireless and the excellent customer service they have shown. This continues to show that you should do business with outstanding companies with good reputations. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had used a fly by the night type of operation.

Warning Signs That You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft

You do not have to wait for a text message or an email from your credit card companies to find out that you are a victim of identity theft. Below are a few of the classic warning signs of identity theft.
1. You are unexpectedly denied a loan or credit card
2. You receive collection calls for accounts that you never opened.
3. You notice accounts that you never opened on your credit report.
4. Your fail to receive mail, credit card statements, or bills.
5. Your credit report contains inquiries from businesses you don’t recognize.

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft


#1 in Identity Theft Protection
You need to be more proactive in protecting yourself from identity theft. After American Express emailed me that my account had been compromised, I immediately enrolled in LifeLock and their identity theft protection. I had been thinking about joining LifeLock for years, but these two incidents put me over the edge. I really love the service that LifeLock has already provided. They automatically request your credit reports, disenroll you from the spam mailing lists, enroll you in their proactive identity theft protection, internet monitoring, address monitoring, loss wallet protection, and others. Life lock also offers a $1 million identity theft guarantee.

Are there other warning signs for identity theft that I missed?

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 525 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

funancials

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes right now. What is interesting is that most people think it only occurs online – by inputting your information into an untrusted site – however a lot of identity theft ISN’T online. It can consist of people going through trash, mail, etc. I’ve also heard stories of handing a waitress your debit card and while ringing up your order, she writes down your card information.

Scary to think about but good that you’re informing your readers.
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Hank

You make a great point. We focus a lot of our efforts online and forget about the offline portion.
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Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

Sorry to hear of your issues. I dread the day that we might be impacted by this.
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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

Sorry to hear this happened to you. I am sure you feel quite violated. I have had my credit card number stolen a couple times and thank goodness the companies were great at rectifying it otherwise it would have been a bigger issue than it was. I have never heard of lifelock before. I am going to look into it.
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Hank

You should definitely check them out. Their service is awesome!
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YFS

Sorry to hear your identity was stolen. My wife’s identity was stolen as a teenage and I fixed her credit. I’m not a fan of the various protections. I simply pull our credit reports every quarter and verify nothing is there that shouldn’t be.
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Hank

YFS,

Do you pull all three every quarter? Or, do you space them out and pull each of the credit bureau reports once a year?
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Identity Theft Prevention

Yes I totally agree with you Hank, today identity theft protection is measure issue in our society and if you work on it this is really good investment for secure life.
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