There’s a big demand on the dark web for personal information that can be used to commit identity theft and other cybercrimes. Fraudsters specializing in identity theft will try really hard to get their hands on your personal information, such as your Social Security number, credit card numbers, or date of birth.

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

Check your credit report for unknown accounts

While checking your credit report if you notice an account that you didn’t open, don’t assume it’s a mistake made by the credit bureau or the credit card issuer. It’s quite possibly a sign of identity theft.

Don’t ignore the account, even if it doesn’t have a negative payment history. Use the credit report dispute process to get the account removed from your credit report, and call the company that reported the account to let them know about the fraud.

Pay Attention To Collection Calls About Accounts You Never Opened

The first sign of identity theft is frequent calls from debt collectors. If debt collectors start calling you, it means that accounts have been open without your knowledge for several months.

If you get a call about an account, you never opened, let the collection agency know this debt isn’t yours and to stop contacting you about the debt.

You Are Unexpectedly Denied for a Credit Card, Loan, or Other Service

Fraudulent accounts can keep you from being approved for credit cards, housing applications, and loan products, especially if the accounts have a negative payment history or high balances.

If your application is rejected, lenders are required to let you know if you’re turned down for credit because of information on your credit report. They’ll give the reasons you were denied and let you know that you’re entitled to a free credit report. You should certainly take advantage of this free credit report to figure out whether you’ve become a victim of identity theft.

Your Credit Report Contains Unknown Inquiries

If your credit report mentions hard inquiries from businesses you don’t recognize, there is a high probability of identity theft. Unfamiliar hard inquiries are a sign that someone has applied for credit products in your name.

Check if your credit card is missing

In this digital age, we usually save our cards on websites or subscription services we use in our routine life. However, these saved credit card details could make us forget to check for our physical card. If your card is lost or stolen contact your credit card company immediately.

Learn more about how to prevent identity theft.