Being the victim of identity theft is never a fun thing to go through. There are so many security breaches and countless methods of gaining access to your information. So while you may not be able to prevent becoming a victim of ID theft you can minimize the damage by stopping the thieves early on.
Keep at eye out for these 5 early warning signs that your credit card account has been compromised.
Your Credit Card Is Declined
It’s embarrassing as well as infuriating when you go shopping and your credit card ends up being declined. But it is especially infuriating when your card is declined even though you have good credit. Rather than brushing this decline notice as an anomaly, look into it further because it could be a clue your identity has been stolen.
Often times an unexpected decline is your very first clue that your credit card account has been compromised. If this happens to you, go home and log into your account (or check it with your smartphone app) on the spot. See what your balance is. If a thief has gotten into your account they may have racked up so many charges that you’ve reached your credit limit, causing the decline alert.
Calls From A Collections Agency
If a collections agency begins to call you – your identity may have been stolen. If you are current on your bills and have no known unpaid debts, then a call from a debt collector demanding payment would be awfully strange. Ask them for information about the debt such as what company is owed money, how much is owed and when it happened.
If the debt is not yours, either the collections agency is wrong or your identity was stolen. Contact the store in question regarding the details of the transaction. Be sure to investigate and get to the bottom of it as soon as you can.
Odd Charges On Your Statement
If you see strange charges on your checking account or your credit card bill, it’s a clear warning sign. Even if the charges are just for a few pennies or dollars, do not ignore this warning sign. Trust me, these small charges are just a sign of much larger charges to come. Contact the issuer of your card immediately so they can deactivate that card to minimize the damage.
Often times credit card numbers are tested with a small purchase to see if the card works. If it does the thieves prepare themselves to make large purchases with your valid and working credit card.
You Stop Receiving Your Monthly Statement
Any change to your bank or credit card accounts is a red flag. Everything from a mysterious charge, an unexpected package in the mail to a password that no longer works is cause to be suspicious. Another red flag to look out for is if you no longer receive your statement in the mail.
If you stop getting your statement this could mean that an identity thief has gained access to your account and changed the billing address. They do this so they can rack up charges over the course of several months, hoping you don’t notice because you don’t see your bill.
To avoid this, set up alerts on your account that notify you via email or text message every time there’s a charge on your account. It may be annoying to receive a message on every transaction but it will give you more peace of mind knowing your credit card isn’t being misused.