This next story is an example of one of the most common and simplest ways that thieves steal your identity. Recently a consumer became concerned when she did not receive her monthly statements from her credit card companies. She called them and discovered that an unauthorized person had changed the address on all of her accounts. It had been only two months since her last bill, yet thousands of dollars in charges had been racked up.
It is actually quite simple to request an address change, especially if the thief has found or stolen your wallet or gained access to other personal information. Once the address is changed on an account, it could be months or longer before you even realize it. In that time, the thief could be making unauthorized purchases and you would never know. In cases where a credit card is paid off, the damage could be even worse. Since you don’t owe the credit card company money, you may be less likely to miss a statement or bill if it doesn’t arrive. That gives the thieves more time to make more unauthorized charges.
The best way to be sure that the address has not been changed on an account is to monitor it. Make sure you receive statements each month and if you don’t, call right away. Also, monitor your credit report regularly. If possible, sign up for a credit monitoring product but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, at least check it once a year from each of the credit reporting companies: Equifax ®, Experian® and TransUnion®.