How to Check for Signs of Identity Theft
If you have lost important identity or financial documents, such as your credit card, you are immediately at
risk of identity theft. Your passport or driver's licence, or your social security number details, may enable an
identity thief to pass himself off with your identity. Your credit card may enable a thief to undertake financial
transactions in your name.
If your mail appears to be getting tampered with that may be an indication an identity thief is active. If your
bank or credit card statements are not arriving as normal your alarm bells should certainly start to ring. A common
identity theft tactic is to intercept these statements to delay your ability to see what is happening to your
Strong signs of identity theft are when bills begin to arrive for purchases you have not made. Keeping
these from your attention is another reason why identity thieves may take a close interest in your mailbox.
Your mail, or part of it may have been redirected to another address, either through a redirection order being
lodged in your name with the postal service, or by notifying a change of address to the people sending mail to you,
especially your bank. If you suspect something is wrong with your mail deliveries, check whether this has
If bank and credit card statements and bills are being intercepted in this way, there are other subtle signs of
a developing problem that may still get through, such as thank you letters, receipts and follow up promotions from
companies you have had no contact with.
The first really serious indication you may hear of a growing debt problem is when credit managers, financial
institutions, debt collectors or solicitors try to contact you. This may be by telephone if your mail is still
being tampered with.
You may encounter unexpected problems with financial services, such a hire purchase, loan, credit card or
mortgage application that indicates your credit status has deteriorated. You can order a copy of your credit file
from credit reference agencies to see whether it shows dealings with companies and transactions that you have no
You may be turned down for a state benefit of some kind or social security payment on the grounds you are
already receiving it - because an identity thief has already claimed it in your name.
You may find that someone has taken out a mobile phone in your name, possibly signing up for an expensive
As soon as you feel there is sufficient evidence of an emerging problem you should initiate a review of your
financial affairs, and begin talking to unfamiliar companies that seem to think they are doing business with you.
The earlier you can detect the signs of identity theft and take action the less damage will be done to