Quick Tips

Quick Tip: Reporting Identity Theft

Monday, October 15, 2018

You’ve been reviewing your financial statements and spotted some unauthorized transactions on your bank account. That’s one of the most common warning signs of a stolen identity, along with getting word from a company that it experienced a data breach, not receiving your bills or mail, calls from debt collectors about debt that isn’t yours and other red flags.

So you’ve gotten through the first step, finding the problem. What now?

Report it! We at Windstream will tell you all the ways to detect and report different types of identity theft.

1. Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-Related identity theft is when an unauthorized person uses your social security number to file a tax return and claim your refund, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. You’ll know if you have a stolen identity if you try to file your taxes online but learn that someone has already submitted a return or if the IRS notifies you of a suspicious tax return that used your social security number. In this case, you’ll need to fill out an IRS Form 14039, the identity theft affidavit, which is accessible through identitytheft.gov. On that website, you’ll also find tools to help you recover your information, including how to place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

2. Medical Identity Theft

If you’ve noticed some fishy services on your medical or insurance statements, you may be a medical identity theft victim. These usually occur when you’re billed for services you didn’t receive, you’re told that you’ve reached your benefit limit on your health insurance plan or you’ve been served a denial of insurance because medical records show a condition that you don’t have. If you think someone has taken over your medical identity, get copies of your medical records and accounting of disclosures, which shows what medical information was sent and to whom, and look for errors. If you find any errors, report and correct them with your healthcare provider. And remember to keep your records!

3. Child Identity Theft

Identity theft of a child may be a little easier to spot. If you’re getting bills or notices from the IRS that your child didn’t pay taxes, your kid’s social security number was likely compromised. This may also be the case if your child was turned down for government benefits because another account is tied to his or her social security number.

4. Other Social Security Identity Theft

Sometimes identity thieves will use social security numbers to get a job. If you receive a check from an unknown employer, someone else may have your social security number. Businesses also report employee incomes to the IRS. So if you’re trying to file your taxes and you get a message from the IRS saying you haven’t reported all your income, your social security number might be compromised.

If you’ve detected identity theft, contact one of the big three credit reporting companies to report a fraud alert and consider a credit freeze. With children, the three companies can remove accounts, inquiries and collection notices associated with your kids’ identities.

File a police report and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here, and if you find your social security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration.

And if you’re a Windstream customer, check out our three different Shield packages — all with personal identity theft protection and credit score access and monitoring through CreditGuard and antivirus/malware protection through McAfee — for your Kinetic internet.