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Identity Theft Awareness Week 2022

Taking steps to protect your personal information can help you minimize the risks of identity theft. But what if a thief gets your information anyway? Here are some of the ways thieves might use your stolen information and signs you can look out for.

An identity thief could use your information to get credit or service in your name.

  • How to spot it: Get your free credit report at Review it for accounts you didn’t open or inquiries you don’t recognize. A new credit card, a personal loan, or a car loan will appear as a new account. A new cell phone plan or utility service — like water, gas, or electric — will show up as an inquiry.

An identity thief could use your credit card or take money out of your bank account.

  • How to spot it: Check your credit card or bank statement when you get it. Look for purchases or withdrawals you didn’t make.
  • Bonus advice: Sign up to get text or email alerts from your credit card or bank whenever there’s a new transaction. This could help you spot unauthorized or fraudulent activity on your account.

An identity thief could steal your tax refund or use your Social Security number to work.

  • How to spot it: A notice from the IRS that there’s more than one tax return filed in your name could be a sign of tax identity theft. So could a notice that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.

An identity thief could use your health insurance to get medical care.

  • How to spot it: Review your medical bills and Explanation of Benefits statements for services you didn’t get. They could be a sign of medical identity theft.

An identity thief could use your information to file a claim for unemployment benefits.

  • How to spot it: A notice from your state unemployment office or employer about unemployment benefits that you didn’t apply for could be a sign of fraud.

If you discover any signs that someone is misusing your personal information, find out what to do at

And remember to check out our daily free events and webinars with our co-partners during Identity Theft Awareness Week.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Me. Scammer
February 02, 2022
Checking statements as they come in is a good idea but you need to be more proactive. It is safe to register for online access to bank and credit card and brokerage accounts. You can monitor them proactively rather than waiting for a statement at the end of the month. Check them weekly!
I'm Not a Robot
February 02, 2022

In reply to by Me. Scammer

You don't always have to wait for monthly statements. My credit card bank lets me know immediately whenever a charge is made without my card being present.
jean davis
May 23, 2022

In reply to by Me. Scammer

The bank I do business with has a 3 to call for checking balances/debits/credits, so I do that more than once a week. If I have a question about any of these items, I can call the bank and speak to a person for an explanation.
I'm also on Facebook and have scammer hack a friend's account, present themselves as this friend, and attempt to entice me into a scam concerning a government give-away of substantial money. These I can forward to the FTC.

February 02, 2022
I'm a senior, during the year 2021 in December ive got over 9 pages of scammers texts and calls that had Fraudulent intentions, this is very helpful, information. Thank you.
February 02, 2022
As a result of my communication with various government agencies concerning the hacking of my SS#, my email addresses, and my phone I, yet to receive their input and what I’m supposed to do with this serious threats to my livelihood.
Hannah F.
February 02, 2022
I’ve signed up for credit card text notifications for years. Has stopped several credit card theft scams immediately, well worth it. Also, blocked credit inquiries with major providers since I’m a senior and don’t plan to apply for futher credit or loans.
I'm Not a Robot
February 02, 2022
I keep my physical cards at home, so I'm not carrying them around. Instead, I use the "wallet" in my cell phone to hold the necessary items. It requires that I use "facial recognition" to open the phone and to then open the wallet. Nearly all businesses now have "tap to pay" features, so I rarely find a reason to have the actual card with me.