What Is an Identity Theft Report?
An identity theft report is a comprehensive document that details your personal and financial history. Similar to a credit report, but more inclusive, this highly informative report can help you identify potential evidence of identity theft quickly so you can take appropriate steps to protect your personal information — and your peace of mind. The identity theft report from PrivacyMatters.com is cross-referenced for accuracy between hundreds of databases and billions of individual records. And, it contains data from public databases that your credit report simply does not include.
What Does an Identity Theft Report Tell You?
Identity theft reports, such as those available to members of Privacy Matters Identity, organize your personal, financial and professional information into six categories.
Understanding the information on your identity theft report is a critical first step toward safeguarding your personal information. Each section of the report contains important information that can help you proactively fight identity theft:
Personal Information. This section displays your current and former places of residence. A bogus mailing address, for example, could be a sign that someone else is using your identity, so keep an eye out for unfamiliar addresses. If you come across one, contact the three credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian or Equifax — directly. Then check for unauthorized financial activity in your name at that address.
Names Associated With Your Personal Identity. These are names and contact information for relatives, roommates, previous occupants and other known associates. Be sure to check for unknown names, a sign that someone may have used your identity while building relationships with other people.
Property Report. Here, you'll find property records, property mortgage and sales data. You can review this information to verify that you do indeed own any and all property that's publicly listed in your name. If you find property in your name that you don't remember purchasing, you should start an immediate inquiry into how the property was acquired and by whom.
Neighborhood Report. This section offers specific neighborhood information related to your current address, including population numbers, ethnicities represented, average income levels and criminal activity. You can use this information to track general lifestyle trends in your local area.
Financial Information. This section provides a summary of your financial information, including bank accounts, real estate holdings, complete credit history and other data (such as bankruptcy filings). In short, this portion of the report allows you to verify the status and accuracy of all your financial records; unauthorized accounts are often evidence of ID theft.
Inquiries. This is a list of credit inquiries that have been made about you, including who made the inquiry (examples include collection agencies, utility companies, banks or lending institutions) and the date each inquiry was made. You'll want to ensure that all inquiries came from people and/or companies with which you're familiar. Inquiries from unknown names and/or companies could be a strong indication that your identity is being used illegally.
Why Do You Need an Identity Theft Report?
Identity theft is a common crime for a reason. The latest technologies allow us to track down friends and acquaintances almost instantly, but they also make it much easier for identity thieves to access personal information. The fact is that identities naturally alter over time. People move, open up and establish new credit and change jobs. For this reason, Privacy Matters Identity provides a new identity theft report every 31 days. Combined with other services like identity theft monitoring, you can keep a close eye on personal information that is publicly available. Remember: effective identity theft monitoring is the key to preventing identity theft.