Santa Clara University

Information Security Office

7 Warnings

Here are seven of the key warning signs that you’re the victim of identity theft:

  1. Bills for goods or services you didn’t purchase appear on your credit/debit card statements: Don’t ignore small charges. Crooks who buy stolen account numbers sometimes do a test with a small purchase. If it’s unauthorized, check it out.
  2. Statements show up for an unknown credit card account: Armed with the right information, a thief can apply for credit cards in your name. They hope to go on a shopping spree — in your name, of course, before they get caught and the account is closed.
  3. A new credit card or store charge card that you didn’t apply for shows up in the mail: An ID thief pretending to be you may have applied for that card. Don’t assume it’s a mistake. Contact the company right away.
  4. Collection notices or calls for a debt you don’t owe: It could be an honest mistake. It could be that an ID thief is using your personal information to buy things and not pay the bill. You’d better find out.
  5. Errors (misinformation) on credit report: You have the right to a free report every 12 months from the big three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Get a report from one of the bureaus every four months and look for anything suspicious, such as an account you didn’t open or credit inquiries when you didn’t apply for credit. Use this site:
  6. You have good credit, but an application for credit is denied: Don’t get upset, find out what’s going on. An identity thief could have mucked-up your credit file and ruined your credit score.
  7. Missing mail or email: There could be a problem if the monthly statement from your bank or credit card company suddenly stops. A thief may have filed a change of address form to get that statement and keep you from spotting his dirty work for as long as possible.
Courtesy of The Identity Theft Resource Center
Information Security Office, 1-408-554-5554,