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Being the victim of credit identity theft is one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing experiences a consumer can face. High-profile stories of data leaks can make people feel nervous about their vulnerability to this type of activity. However, recognizing the signs of credit identity theft as early as possible can help you avoid its most severe consequences. Here are five of the most common signs that you have been the victim of credit identity theft. 

Fraudulent Accounts

One of the most obvious signs of credit identity theft is the presence of fraudulent accounts on your credit report. These are accounts that have been opened in your name without your knowledge or consent. Regularly reviewing your credit report can help you identify these accounts early on. If you notice any unfamiliar accounts, contact the creditor immediately to report the fraud and initiate the process of closing the account and removing it from your credit report.

Incorrect Personal Identifying Information (PII)

Personal identifying information (PII) includes details such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you notice any incorrect PII on your credit report, it could indicate that someone has attempted to use your identity to open fraudulent accounts. Inaccuracies in your PII should be reported to the credit bureaus and investigated promptly to prevent further damage to your credit.

Unauthorized Credit Inquiries

Credit inquiries occur when a lender or creditor requests your credit report to assess your creditworthiness. While some inquiries, such as those related to pre-approved credit offers, are considered “soft” inquiries and do not affect your credit score, “hard” inquiries from actual credit applications can impact your score. If you notice any hard inquiries you did not authorize, it could indicate that someone has attempted to open accounts in your name. Disputing unauthorized inquiries with the credit bureaus is crucial to protecting your credit.

Sudden Changes in Credit Scores

Unexplained and sudden changes in your credit scores can be another red flag for credit identity theft. Regularly monitoring your credit scores through free online resources or paid monitoring services can help you detect these changes early. A sudden drop in your scores could indicate that fraudulent accounts have been opened or that there is inaccurate information on your credit report. If you notice any unusual changes, investigate the cause immediately and take appropriate action to address the issue.

Debt Collectors Calling About Unknown Debts

Receiving calls from debt collectors about debts you do not recognize is another potential sign of credit identity theft. If a thief has opened accounts in your name and defaulted on the payments, the creditor may eventually turn the debt over to a collection agency. If you receive calls about unknown debts, do not ignore them. Instead, gather as much information as possible about the alleged debt and request written verification. If the debt is not yours, dispute it with the collection agency and the credit bureaus, and consider placing a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit reports.

Contact Lehrman Law Today

Paying close attention to accounts that have been opened in your name, incorrect PII, unauthorized credit inquiries, sudden changes in credit scores, and calls from debt collectors about unknown debts can help you remain alert to credit identity theft and identify it as early as possible. If you notice any of these signs, seek professional legal help from a Florida consumer protection attorney immediately. 

The seasoned legal team at Lehrman Law, led by attorney Seth M. Lehrman, brings skill, tenacity, and a thorough understanding of the law to every case we take on. Let us give you the support and advocacy you deserve. Contact us today for a confidential consultation with a consumer protection attorney in Florida.