CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jan 13, 2014) - The Christmas trees have come down, the lights put away, and children are back in school. While the holidays may be over, TransUnion reminds consumers that now is the time to take a look at their credit reports and credit card statements to spot possible signs of identity theft.
According to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by TransUnion during the holiday season, almost half (45.9 percent) of shoppers surveyed said they were worried about becoming the victim of identity theft during the holiday season.
"While the holidays may be over, now is the time to review your credit report and credit card statements to spot inaccuracies or things that don't look right, which can be possible signs of identity theft that may have taken place while you were caught up in the excitement of the season," said Julie Springer, vice president at TransUnion. "While identity theft is always difficult, if it's caught early, you can minimize its damage to your reputation and financial health."
Unfortunately, many consumers don't realize that their credit, medical or even criminal records contain inaccuracies caused by the activity of identity thieves. Credit identity thieves use your personal information to apply for credit in your name, leaving you to deal with angry creditors and collectors. Monitor your credit reports on a regular basis to spot signs of suspicious activity that could signal you have been the victim of identity theft.
Here are some signs that you may have become the victim of identity theft:
- Unfamiliar activity on your credit reports: Regularly monitor your credit reports to look for new and unfamiliar accounts. If you see that unauthorized or unfamiliar activity has occurred, contact the credit bureau that issued the report right away.
- Unexpected charges on your credit or bank account statements: Don't toss your bank and credit card statements without reviewing them. Review each charge and call your bank or credit card company to question any purchase that you don't recall making.
- Letters or phone calls from unfamiliar creditors or bill collectors: If you start getting phone calls and letters from unknown creditors or bill collectors, take action. An identity thief has likely used your identity to open accounts and make purchases, leaving you with the bills. Children and the elderly can also be targets of identity thieves that operate in this way, so look out for similar communications to your children or to relatives in your care.
- Inability to access online accounts: If you suddenly can't access bank or credit card account websites, contact your financial institutions immediately by phone. Someone may have stolen your passwords in an attempt to take over your accounts.
To review your credit information and to learn more about how you can better prevent identity theft, visit www.TransUnion.com.
Written by TransUnion Interactive and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, September 2013. Survey of 1506 Americans. Survey results have a 95 percent confidence level.
TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 33 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransUnion.