American Consumer Credit Counseling Explains How Consumers can Identify Suspicious Activity

Not knowing how your information can be used if it falls into the wrong hands is a frightening thought, which is why it is important to stay alerted and know what to look for.

The loss or theft of personal information can be a terrifying experience, and it’s only natural for consumers to worry about how this data may be used should it fall into the wrong hands. Fortunately, if data has been accessed without authorization, there are plenty of steps a consumer can take to detect misuse that has already occurred and to help prevent potential future misuse. To lessen the occurrence of identity theft, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has laid out ways consumers can identify suspicious activity.

“Not knowing how your information can be used if it falls into the wrong hands is a frightening thought, which is why it is important to stay alerted and know what to look for,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, based in Newton, MA. “Unfortunately there are many ways consumers may find themselves at risk. You can find yourself in this situation if your wallet is stolen, you responded to a phishing email, or you were notified that a company experienced a data breach and lost some of your data.”

According to Javelin Strategy Research, identity theft hit a record high of 15.4 million U.S. victims in 2016. This is a 16 percent increase from the 13.1 million victims in 2015. The study also found that despite efforts to lessen identity theft, fraud losses rose to $16 billion, up from $15.3 billion in 2015.

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers ways consumers can identify suspicious activity.

1.    Stay alert for the signs of identity theft, such as:

a.    Accounts a consumer didn’t open and debts on the account that can’t be explained.

b.    Fraudulent or inaccurate information on credit reports, including account and personal information, like Social Security number, addresses, name or employers.

c.    Failing to receive bills or other mail. It is important to follow up with creditors if bills don’t arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over the account and changed the billing address to cover their…

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