Perhaps you check your credit report regularly and, when it looks to be in order, think to yourself, “looks great, I’m not at risk of identity theft.”
There are numerous types of identity theft that don’t show up on your credit report. In fact, based on the stats, it’s likely criminals are specifically going after the types of identity theft that may not show up on someone’s credit report — either ever or not for months and months, based on the type.
On the occasions credit monitoring does alert you to a potential problem, it still doesn’t do anything to actually prevent identity theft. (The truth is, no one can prevent identity theft. That’s why it’s so important to subscribe to LibertyID, the leading identity restoration service.)
The FTC concurs that credit monitoring has severe limitations:
“Credit monitoring only warns you about activity that shows up on your credit report. But many types of identity theft won’t appear. For example, credit monitoring won’t tell you if an identity thief withdraws money from your bank account, or uses your Social Security number to file a tax return and collect your refund.”
Medical Identity Theft, which is a fast-growing and extra dangerous form of identity theft (your health records can become intertwined with the criminal’s, potentially leaving your very life at risk), likely won’t show up on your credit report immediately. By the time a medical collection notice shows up in your mail, a tremendous amount of damage could have been done.
Here are some of the types of identity theft that could be happening and likely wouldn’t show up on your credit report.
- Criminal identity theft
This type of identity theft occurs when someone gives your name and information to law enforcement in place of their own. “It could be anything from a serious crime to a minor traffic stop, but the end result is that your name and data are tied to an open police matter,” according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. You might not know this has even happened until you get pulled over for going 6 over (geez, give me a break, officer!) just to find out there’s a warrant out for your arrest.
This is part of why it’s so important to file a police report if your wallet or purse is stolen. That way if someone down the line does try to impersonate you, you can prove your identity was compromised. Curious about how this can play out? Read a few terrifying real-life criminal identity theft stories.
- Social Security identity theft
Criminals can “steal the personal information of Social Security beneficiaries and use that information to attempt to open a ‘my Social Security’ account on the Social Security Administration’s website. If successful, they then use that account to redirect the beneficiary’s direct deposit benefits to an account controlled by the thief,” according to an alert from the Office of the Inspector General about the fraud. This and other types of government benefits fraud — welfare etc. — isn’t going to show up on your credit report. (P.S. You might want to consider setting up your online Social Security account now, before a criminal has a chance to do so.)
- Employment identity theft
If someone uses your Social Security number in order to obtain a job, this is considered employment identity theft. As this USA Today story points out, “Needless to say, this can cause real problems for your future employment opportunities and various state and federal government agencies. For example, the IRS may demand that you pay taxes for income that the fraudster earned in your name.” Which leads us to our next type of identity theft …
- Tax identity theft
Tax identity theft is when an identity thief uses your Social Security number for their job (so additional income that isn’t yours is reported under your Social Security number), or to steal your tax refund. A thief could even claim your child as a dependent.
- Medical identity theft
It might take up to a year for Medical Identity Theft, to show up on your credit report. “A 2015 study by the Medical Identity Theft Alliance estimated annual medical fraud in the U.S. ranges from $80 billion to $230 billion. Almost 30 percent of the victims do not find out about the identity theft until a year later, and most find it difficult to resolve these issues,” according to this Mississippi State University Extension story. Here are other signs of medical identity theft for which you should be on the lookout.
Millions of Americans have their identity stolen every year, and they don’t know how to repair the damage. Credit monitoring can’t prevent identity theft, and insurance companies don’t fix it. What would you do if it happened to you?
You need a plan. We have one.
If you’re a LibertyID subscriber and your identity is stolen, we will fix it. Our certified restoration specialists won’t just tell you how to repair the damage, they’ll do it for you, saving you hundreds of hours of work by placing fraud alerts, making all the necessary phone calls, filing the disputes and contacting government agencies, creditors, insurance companies and more. There’s no limit to the time or money we will spend to restore your identity to pre-event status.
Are you covered for identity theft?