Identity thieves aren’t burglars who come into your home and steal money from your hiding spot under the mattress. They’re fraudsters who hack your personal information, using it to sneak money from accounts or open fraudulent loans online.
Luckily, the signs you’ve been hacked are as obvious as coming home to a broken lock and all your stuff overturned. Below are five concrete signs your financial identity has been taken, in no particular order.
1. You’re Missing Money
Perhaps the biggest red flag something’s amiss is when you can’t account for missing money. Any unfamiliar withdrawals from your checking or savings accounts could mean you’re a victim of fraud.
It doesn’t always happen in one huge withdrawal draining you of all your money at once. Even a small withdrawal could indicate someone else has your information. They might only take a little bit of money at a time to avoid detection.
If you notice suspicious activity in your bank statements — or you have new accounts open under your name — it’s time to speak with your bank.
2. Your Credit Report Shows Inconsistencies
One possible sign your finances have been hacked is if there are inconsistencies in your credit report. Your credit report is your borrowing history. It lists all the accounts shared to one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the country.
When banks or online direct lenders share your loan or line of credit account to these agencies, they include details like the account name and age, outstanding balance, and payment history.
If any of these details are wrong, you’ll want to get in touch with these agencies. While inaccuracies could be the result of human error or a glitch, they could be clues that a fraudster is using your line of credit or credit card.
3. You Have Payday Loans You Didn’t Apply for in Your Name
You’ll also want to look at the list of accounts under your name when you’re checking your credit report. If you spot any payday loans or quick cash advance loans that you didn’t apply for, there’s a good chance it’s the work of a fraudster.
Identity hackers tend to stick to no-credit-check loans and same day cash loans online. These fast cash loans are easier to snag because their lenders don’t run as thorough a background check as other online direct lenders with legit online borrowing options.
Without a credit check, these lenders aren’t aware someone is using your information to open fraudulent accounts, so they approve the loan.
4. You Get Collection Calls for Accounts You Didn’t Open
A call saying you owe $1,500 on a same day cash advance you didn’t open may seem like a nasty prank, but it could be another sign you’ve been hacked.
When fraudsters get same day cash loans online, they have no intention of paying back the money they borrow. They usually cut and run as soon as the check clears.
Unfortunately, since they used your name and contact details to qualify for a same day cash advance, the lender will call you when the due date comes and goes without payment.
So, if you get a suspicious collection call, don’t hang up. Get as much information about the company and the delinquent account without giving any financial details of your own. Then, you’ll want to get in touch with your bank and the credit agencies to see if this account is genuinely attached to your name.
5. Your Credit Card Gets Declined
A denied message after swiping your card could be the result of a few things. You might be closer to your limit than you thought, or maybe the store’s POS system goes down. But it could also be a sign you’re a victim of identity theft.
If your card gets declined, you’ll want to check your account statements online or call your credit card company. This check-in will reveal if the problem was an honest mistake on your end, or if someone else has maxed out your card.
Keep an Eye out for Anything Unusual
Boring is a good thing when it comes to your finances. Anything that comes out of left field could indicate your information has been exposed, and a fraudster is taking out quick cash advance loans in your name.
If you ever experience any of the situations outlined above, don’t panic. There’s always a chance these issues happen by mistake. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to check up on them to make sure your financial identity hasn’t been stolen.