How to Detect Fraud & Identity Theft
The sooner fraud is detected, the lower the financial impact. Often the victim is the first person to discover fraudulent activity. Follow these suggestions to recognize the warning signs of identity theft:
Monitor your accounts
Check your account activity frequently looking for anything unusual. View your online account statements to detect fraud earlier and contact your financial institution immediately if you see anything suspicious. If you suspect that any of your accounts with Ally have been compromised, please notify us immediately using the contact us section at the top of the page.
Use online tools and services
Whenever possible sign up for email or text alerts that notify you when certain events occur such as ordering checks or reissuing debit or credit cards.
Use a credit monitoring service
Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service that notifies you when changes are posted to your credit report. This is one of the fastest ways to identify if others open accounts in your name.
Watch out for signs of fraud
Here are common things that may alert you of fraud:
- You see unexpected charges on your account.
- Your credit report shows accounts that are not yours or contains inaccurate information.
- Bills or statements you still receive by US mail stop arriving. This could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address.
- Your banking statement shows checks are significantly out of order.
- You receive credit cards without applying for them.
- You are denied credit for no apparent reason.
- You receive notice that you have been denied credit but did not apply for credit.
- You receive calls or letters from debt collectors & businesses about merchandise you didn't buy.
Know the scams
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scams are not only limited to the internet. Criminals also use phone and email scams to gain personal information and commit fraud and identity theft. Here are a few typical identity theft scams:
- You are notified by phone, email, or letter that you won a prize or lottery, but you don’t remember entering it.
- You are asked to pay money in advance for “administration fees” or “taxes” prior to receiving a prize or winnings.
- You are promised to receive a huge sum of money in return for using your bank account to send or receive money.
- You are promised to make extra money working at home in return for using your bank account to send or receive money.
- You are required to pay a fee in advance to stop foreclosure, modify a loan, or receive advice from a company or individual to stop paying your mortgage. The FTC provides an informative video on this subject at http://www.ftc.gov/yourhome.
The best way to verify any calls or emails that you receive about your finances are from your financial institutional is to contact them directly. Locate the contact information on one of your statements or other materials from the company.
For more information on Internet safety visit Onguard Online (http://www.onguardonline.gov). This is a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintained site that provides practical tips on how to guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
As people become aware of scams, fraudsters change their methods or come up with new scams. For the latest list of scams visit http://www.onguardonline.gov/topics/email-scams.aspx.