What Do Thieves Do With Your Information?
Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on 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.
Here are clues that someone has stolen your information:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
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- Ask students if they, their family members or friends have been victims of an identity theft. What was their experience and how did they resolve the problem?
- Ask students if they mail bills from their home mail box, especially if it is out by the street. What might be some dangers of this method of mailing bills?
- Should you put your Social Security and driver’s license numbers on your checks? Why or why not?
- Why is it important to check your credit report each year? Should you consider credit monitoring, identity monitoring service, or identity theft insurance? Why or why not?