Is Your Family At Risk of Identity Theft?
When Lauren Ashley Hays showed up in a small Missouri town, the 22-year-old told everyone that she had fled an abusive relationship [*]. But two-and-a-half years later, the truth surfaced. Lauren’s real name was Laura Hays — Lauren’s mother. She had stolen her own daughter’s identity in an attempt to start a new life.
While the story of Laura/Lauren Hays is an extreme example, family identity theft is a more common threat than most people realize.
Children, elderly family members, teens, and young adults are some of the most at-risk groups when it comes to identity theft and financial fraud.
Nearly a million children had their identities stolen in 2022 [*], while Americans 60 and older lost over $1 billion to fraud [*].
If you’re responsible for your family’s safety, you need to take extra precautions against the growing threat of identity theft and fraud.
In this guide, we’ll explain how family identity theft happens, how you can protect your most vulnerable family members, and whether or not it’s worth it to sign up for a family identity theft protection service.
By the end, you’ll know how to make the right choice to protect your family from identity theft.
How Bad is Family Identity Theft? Is My Family at Risk?
Family identity theft — also known as familial or “familiar” identity theft — occurs when someone steals a family member’s personally identifiable information (PII) and uses it for personal gain. The culprit could be a stranger or even another family member.
Families are at higher risk of identity theft due to a number of reasons.
First, children and the elderly are often more trusting of people and less likely to spot an online scammer. But even young, more tech-savvy adults are at risk. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) latest data, 44% of Americans aged 20 – 29 lost money to scams compared to just 20% of people aged 70–79 [*].
There are several types of family identity theft that you need to be aware of:
- Child identity theft: Scammers target children for their clean credit scores and because few families actively monitor their child’s Social Security numbers (SSN). Fraudsters can use a child’s SSN or Social Security card to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, buy real estate, take out loans, and even apply for a passport. Most victims are unaware of their stolen identities until adulthood when they need a loan or credit card. By then, their credit scores are already wrecked.
- Elder fraud / Senior identity theft: Elderly Americans are common targets of scams and fraud — especially phone scams, tech support scams, and remote access scams. Fraudsters target older people as they may be more trusting and less likely to spot the warning signs of their scams.
- Spousal identity theft: Spouses — or ex-spouses — often have access to your most sensitive information. In some cases, they may use your name, ID, or other PII to open fraudulent accounts, take out credit in your name, or steal retirement savings.
- Identity theft of a deceased family member: Criminals will even target the recently deceased — using their identity to obtain employment, file fraudulent taxes, or avoid criminal prosecution. Commonly known as “ghosting,” this scam can be incredibly hard to identify and shut down.
- Sibling identity theft: If you’ve ever helped your sibling out by cosigning a loan, they could have access to your SSN and signature — everything they need to steal your identity. Even without a loan or new account, siblings often have access to sensitive information that can put your identity at risk.
How To Protect Your Family: 7 Things You Can Do On Your Own
Protecting your family against identity theft is an ongoing battle. So, how can you protect your children and loved ones from identity theft?
Here are a few easy steps you can take right now to make your children, parents, or grandparents less-desirable targets:
- Check if your child has a credit report. In most cases, children shouldn’t have a credit score until they’re 18 (and start applying for credit cards and loans on their own). If your child has a credit report, it could mean someone is using their information. Contact each of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — and ask for a manual search of your child’s SSN.
- Freeze your child’s credit. A credit freeze stops scammers from opening new accounts in you or your children’s names. You can proactively freeze your child’s credit report by contacting each of the three main credit bureaus individually.
- Safeguard your family members’ Social Security numbers (SSNs). Don’t automatically fill out sensitive information on forms or applications for your children or elderly family members. Always ask why they need the information and what alternatives you can give.
- Keep sensitive documents locked away and out of sight. Bills, birth certificates, and loan applications can give unscrupulous individuals everything they need to steal your family members’ identities. Keep these documents stored away and shred any sensitive document before throwing it out.
- Scrutinize junk mail — especially credit card offers or bills. Offers of credit cards, loans, or store cards can be signs that someone is using your child’s identity. Don’t assume this is just spam mail.
- Teach family members the common warning signs of scams. Talk to your kids, parents, and grandparents about the risks of phishing attacks. As a general rule of thumb, make sure everyone knows not to give out information if someone contacts them. Instead, tell them to request contact info and then hang up the phone (or ignore the text / email) and contact the company or agency directly.
- Know what your children are sharing online and on social media. Fraudsters target your kids online or use what they share against them in phishing attacks. Talk to your kids about what they share online and consider a parental controls tool that gives you visibility into and control over what they do online.
Can An Identity Protection Service Safeguard My Family?
While you can take steps to protect your family from identity thieves and scammers, the reality is that it’s getting harder to manage all devices and safeguard your online accounts against every potential threat.
That’s why millions of Americans choose to sign up for a family identity theft protection service.
Family identity theft protection combines identity monitoring (SSN, name, address, etc.), financial account protection (credit and bank account monitoring, fraud alerts), and proactive digital protection (antivirus, VPN, password manager, etc.)
Many services — such as Aura — also include parental controls to help your kids stay safe online and identity theft insurance to cover eligible losses and costs if the worst should happen.
Here's what identity theft protection can offer you:
- Credit and financial account monitoring to protect your family’s finances against scammers.
- Filter and block harmful websites and apps to shield children from hackers, predators, or age-inappropriate content.
- Limit screen time to a maximum number of hours per day and to set times of the day.
- Safe Browsing tools to protect tech-unsavvy elderly parents or grandparents from fraud and scams when they’re online.
- Monitor social media accounts to know which apps your children are using.
- Help prevent home title theft by alerting you if there are ownership changes to your deed.
- Combat fake ads and phishing by sending alerts whenever your family members enter a suspicious website or unsafe place on the internet.
- Dark Web monitoring to alert you if your family member’s PII or passwords has been leaked in a recent data breach.
No identity theft protection service is able to prevent all risk of identity theft and credit fraud. But with the combination of multiple advanced tools integrated together, a solution like Aura is able to closely monitor and alert you to potential fraud up to 4x faster than other tools on the market [*].
✅ Try Aura free for 14 days and see if it’s right for your family →
How To Choose a Family Identity Theft Protection Service: 10 Essential Features
It can be overwhelming to choose a security and safety solution for your family. Before looking at the best options available, let’s discuss the critical features you should look for (and why they matter):
1. All-in-one protection
The average U.S. household now has an estimated 25 connected devices online [*].
All-in-one digital security can help protect you from identity theft, financial fraud, and online threats. Instead of managing several solutions separately, you can get protection for the entire family through an easy-to-use platform that scans your computers, smartphones, and tablets for viruses and harmful malware.
Digital safety solutions like Aura will notify you if your registered information — SSN, financial accounts, usernames & passwords, or IDs — have been exposed online.
Comprehensive identity monitoring is one of the most important functions of any identity theft protection service.
2. Child SSN monitoring
It's crucial to protect your children's sensitive data. A family identity theft protection service can monitor your children's registered personal information and ID numbers, including passports and Social Security numbers. Credit monitoring products also let you add your children’s profiles to monitor for any suspicious activity.
📚 Related: Internet Safety Tips for Kids & Teens (Parents Need To Know) →
3. Dark Web monitoring
The Dark Web is a hidden collection of internet sites that require specific web browsers for users to access. Many illicit activities occur here, such as the sale of stolen personally identifiable information (PII). A good identity theft protection service patrols the Dark Web and alerts you if your PII has been exposed online during a data breach.
4. Wi-Fi security VPN (Virtual Private Network)
You should be able to shop, bank, and stream online privately and securely. With powerful antivirus and Wi-Fi security, you can protect your internet connection via military-grade encryption that hides your online activity from cybercriminals. This private tunnel between you and the internet is essential, especially when you’re browsing on public networks.
📚 Related: How To Keep Your Kids and Teens Safe on Social Media →
5. Near-real-time fraud detection
If your information is compromised, you need to know as soon as possible. Look for a service that can provide instant alerts whenever there is an inquiry into your credit file at any of three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
6. Credit monitoring
Look for a solution that makes it easy to track and detect any suspicious activity on your financial accounts. A reliable service will include robust credit monitoring and financial fraud protection features. With these tools, you can mitigate any potential fraud before it becomes a major issue. For example, if your children use your credit card online, they might unwittingly visit an unsecure website.
📚 Related: What Is Credit Monitoring (And Do You Really Need It?) →
7. Credit freezing
When someone steals your PII, freezing your credit will stop the fraudster from opening any new credit accounts. Ensure that you find a solution that can instantly lock and unlock your credit file. This will in no way impact your credit score. It simply restricts unauthorized access to prevent further damage.
8. Identity theft insurance ($1M)
In the worst-case scenario, you need to ensure you have sufficient coverage for your family. Look for family identity theft protection that offers high insurance coverage. Most insurers extend coverage only if you report a stolen identity event within 90 days of it happening.
📚 Related: Is Identity Theft Protection Worth The Cost? →
9. Qualified support, 24/7
With U.S.-based customer support services, you will be able to get help to answer any account, technical, or billing questions. Aura also provides White Glove Fraud Resolution (more below) where a dedicated case manager works directly with you to prevent and recuperate existing losses or damages.
10. White glove fraud resolution
If you're a victim of identity theft or financial fraud, it helps to have dedicated agents who help recover your identity and assets. This specialized “done-for-you” service takes the guesswork out of fraud resolution.
For example, Aura has a team of trained experts that are able to complete forms and make calls on your behalf — saving you time, money, stress and headaches.
The 7 Best Identity Theft Protection Services for Families in 2023
We’ve looked at the most popular identity protection services on the market and narrowed it down to seven choices:
1. Aura: Comprehensive coverage with parental controls
Aura is a modern approach to family safety — boasting top-rated identity theft protection, powerful parental controls, and online security tools for families and individuals.
Rather than only monitoring and reacting to identity theft, Aura includes an ever-expanding list of features to proactively protect your family against identity theft and fraud.
- Simplified pricing: individual, couple or family - with everything included.
- All-in-one solution with no integrations or upgrades required.
- Powerful parental controls included on all family plans.
- Wi-Fi Security VPN, antivirus software, and password manager included.
- 24/7 U.S.-based customer support and white-Glove fraud resolution.
- Consistently one of the highest rated solutions on the market.
- Up to $5 million coverage on the Family Plan.
- Prices do not increase in year two (no pricing gimmicks or "gotchas").
- Slightly higher starting price points than other tools.
- Only available in the USA, with no known plans to expand globally.
- Top-rated identity theft and SSN monitoring: Monitor your family’s most sensitive information and online accounts for signs of fraud. Aura will alert you if someone is using your child’s or an elderly family member’s SSN.
- Three-bureau credit monitoring: Track your family members’ monthly credit scores and annual credit reports across all three major bureaus. Get alerted if someone tries to open new accounts without your permission.
- Parental controls and notifications: Set limits on device and app time and limit what your kids can do online to protect them from online harassment and cyberbullying.
- Automatic data broker opt-out: Aura can request the removal of your personal data from data broker lists to help reduce the amount of spam and scam calls, texts, and emails you receive.
- Credit protection and one-click credit lock: Aura alerts you of changes to your family’s credit reports up to 4x faster than competitors. You can also lock and unlock your Experian credit file with a single click.
- Bank account and financial transaction monitoring: Get alerted to suspicious transactions across your bank, credit, and 401k or investment accounts.
- Home title, public records, and address monitoring: Aura will alert you of changes to your family member’s home titles and address or if their names appear in public records (for example, criminal records or sex offender lists).
- Dark Web monitoring: Get alerted if your family’s information or passwords are leaked to the Dark Web.
- Digital security and Safe Browsing tools: Protect your devices and family members against hackers with antivirus software, a virtual private network (VPN), Safe Browsing tools to warn you of and block fake websites, and IP masking / location hiding.
- $1,000,000 identity theft insurance (per adult member): If the worst should happen, every adult member of an Aura family plan is covered for up to $1 million in eligible losses and costs (up to $5,000,000 total).
- 24/7 U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists: Aura’s team of specialists is here day and night to help you if you become an identity theft victim.
Plans and costs:
- Aura's Family Plan covers up to five adults and unlimited children. All plans are available for a 14-day free trial (new customers only).
- Pricing for families is $37/month (if billed annually) or $50/month (if billed monthly). Special offer: Get 50% off Aura when you sign up today →
- Aura's family plan includes premium identity theft protection, credit monitoring, online security and privacy tools (like VPN, antivirus, and safe browsing) and $1 million in identity theft insurance* for every adult member in your plan.
- You’ll also be able to add your kids to monitor their SSN and online accounts to catch early signs of child identity theft.
- Every family member will have access to Aura's 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution services to help resolve any identity fraud incident.
Why choose Aura?
- Aura is an affordable and intuitive platform for family identity theft protection.
- Aura has a sleek and responsive user interface, which is easy to set up and use, making it effortless to protect your family across all devices.
- Aura offers a host of proactive features that help you react quickly to fraud (not when it's too late).
- Aura protects the whole family against threats like child identity theft, elder fraud, and cyberbullying.
- Aura offers social media scans and dark web monitoring.
- Parents can feel confident that their kids won’t be able to get around the content filters.
- Parents can monitor how much time teens are spending online.
- Aura helps protect your elderly parents from online scams and fraud.
- Aura flags suspicious websites and unsafe internet portals.
- Aura cam protect credit cards and PayPal information if anyone in the family lands on a malicious website.
- Aura is a comprehensive digital safety solution that provides peace of mind to help you save money and live more securely.
2. Identity Guard: Household name with decades of experience
Identity Guard is consistently a top provider in family identity theft protection that has been in operation since 1996. In 2018, Intersections Inc. united under a new brand name, Aura™. Aura has now established itself as the new standard in digital security.
- Trusted Brand Name: Identity Guard has shown that its leadership and product reliability can be trusted to protect your personal and financial assets.
- Advanced Technology: Identity Guard leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to track threats to your family.
- U.S. Based Support: If you are the victim of identity theft, it can be frustrating to encounter heavy accents and language barriers when needing customer support. Identity Guard offers U.S. based case managers to provide local assistance.
- The Ultra Plan is the most comprehensive Identity Guard offering, but it does come at a higher price point than their Total Plan.
- Credit protection is only offered with higher-tier packages. Annual credit report is only included in the Ultra plan.
- White Glove Resolution Concierge only comes included with the Ultra plan.
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Social media scanning.
- Annual credit reports.
- Alerts from the major credit bureaus.
- Monthly credit score report.
- Home title monitoring.
- Monitoring of retirement and investment accounts.
- Monitoring of sex offender registries.
Plans and costs:
Why choose Identity Guard?
- Trust is a huge factor. Identity Guard, powered by Aura, was the #1 rated identity theft protection service by U.S. News in 2022.
- Identity Guard includes a range of tools to keep you safe as you bank, shop, or pay bills online.
- This technology scans the Dark Web to check for any personal information exposure.
- Identity Guard's combination of speed, vast industry experience, and powerful partnership with IBM make Identity Guard an attractive option to keep your family safe.
3. LifeLock: Industry veteran (with a few issues)
LifeLock Inc. is an American identity theft protection company. Based in Tempe, Arizona, this security system helps protect personal information and alerts users to any credit score changes or identity theft.
LifeLock is an established brand name, there's no denying it. There are many reliable alternatives to LifeLock out there, but many customers choose them because of their recognizable household name, as well as integration with Norton.
LifeLock data breach in the news: The company recently disclosed that sensitive information from thousands of LifeLock customers — including passwords — was compromised in a December, 2022 data breach [*]. If you're looking for a secure LifeLock alternative, consider trying Aura free for 14 days.
- 24/7 customer service support.
- Includes coverage of up to $1 million for legal fees.
- 60-day money-back guarantee with annual membership.
- Recognized, household name brand that's been around forever.
- FTC Lawsuits, bad publicity stunts and crypto mining software.
- Steep renewal costs ranging from a 40–70% increase from the original signup rate.
- One of the most expensive overall solutions on the market when you factor renewal pricing.
- Family plans charge an extra $5.99 per child.
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Data breach notifications.
- Antivirus and malware protection.
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Cloud backup for Windows computers.
- Social Security number monitoring.
- Integrations with Norton (parent company).
Plans and costs:
Note: Pricing information is current from LifeLock as of January, 2023. The prices listed above are for the Family Plan (two adults + five kids).
Why do families choose LifeLock?
- LifeLock is one of the most well-known products on the identity theft protection market.
- In addition to its robust security features and support for identity theft recovery, it has a well-designed mobile app that is easy to use.
- Key features of the service include dark web monitoring, antivirus software and access to a VPN.
- LifeLock was acquired by Norton in 2017. This means every account integrates with Norton 360 online protection against viruses and phishing.
4. IdentityForce: Good, but expensive option for families
IdentityForce is a leading provider of identity theft protection software to individual consumers, families, businesses, organizations, and U.S. government agencies. Its headquarters are in Massachusetts, where IdentityForce was first incorporated in 1978.
- Detailed reports with actionable notifications.
- Intuitive user interface on their desktop version.
- 24/7 identity theft monitoring.
- Only two service plans offered.
- No refunds for cancellations.
- $1 million identity theft insurance.
- Malware protection for mobile devices.
- Junk mail opt-out.
- Social media monitoring.
- Anti-phishing and anti keystroke logging software.
- Payday loan application alerts.
Plans and costs:
Note: Pricing information is current from IdentityForce as of January, 2023. You can add children to any plan for $2.75 a month.
Why do families choose IdentityForce?
- While on the expensive side, the two identity theft protection plans from IdentityForce offer many advanced features that other competitors don't include.
- For example, the deceased family fraud remediation services may come in handy for anyone dealing with the stolen identity of a deceased family member.
- Another useful add-on is the ChildWatch service, which is available to adult members on IdentityForce.
- Smart SSN Tracker alerts parents to any attempts to compromise your children’s Social Security numbers.
📚 Related: Can You Change Your Social Security Number? (How-To Guide) →
5. IDShield: Flexible plans for families
Outside of identity theft protection, IDShield also partners with Trend Micro to offer anti-malware protection, VPN, and password managers. IDShield kicked off this partnership in October 2021 to roll out affordable and comprehensive protection plans for individuals and families. IDShield is Android and iOS-compatible with family plans that cover up to 15 devices.
- Private investigator to help restore members’ identities.
- Family plans allow for up to ten dependents.
- Social media scan to find unwanted images and posts.
- Does not provide credit simulation to see how financial choices may change credit scores.
- Can be challenging to set up correctly.
- Single-bureau credit score.
- 24/7 access to emergency customer support.
- Data breach notifications.
- Monthly credit score tracker.
- Lost or stolen wallet assistance.
- Credit freeze and fraud alert assistance.
- Identity consultation services.
Plans and costs:
Pricing information includes both individual and family plans. All plans also come with a 30-day free trial.
Why do families choose IDShield?
- IDShield has a great mobile app that delivers fraud alerts and access to full-time licensed private investigators.
- Plans include Dark Web surveillance, credit score tracking for one year, and monitoring of your financial accounts, personal information, and court records.
- You can also use IDShield to monitor social media accounts, which is optimal for active families on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- IDShield social media scans look for exposed home addresses, emails, birthdays, and Social Security numbers.
💡 Related: How To Block Websites on Android Devices (7 Methods) →
6. Zander: Affordable options (but no credit monitoring)
Zander identity theft protection is a service from the independent insurance group Zander Insurance, which offers a wide array of financial products and services at extremely affordable prices.
- Endorsed by Dave Ramsey, a powerful and well-respected name.
- More affordable plans compared to other solutions in the market.
- Recovery specialists are assigned to every case of identity theft
- Comprehensive identity monitoring, alerts, and recovery.
- No credit monitoring services.
- No free trial.
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Social Security number monitoring.
- Address change monitoring.
- Data breach updates.
- Lost Wallet service.
- Support and recovery services, 24/7.
- $2,000,000 coverage for stolen funds.
Plans and costs:
Each of Zander’s plans comes with both individual and family options. The Family Plan includes protection for any two adults and free coverage for children.
Why do families choose Zander?
- Zander is endorsed by Dave Ramsey, one of the most respected names in the industry.
- Zander’s unique value proposition is its price. It’s one of the most affordable family identity theft protection services on the market.
- You can get inexpensive coverage that will keep you safe from financial fraud, tax fraud, Social Security fraud, employment fraud, and medical ID theft.
- Zander also lets you add coverage for an unlimited number of children, which is ideal for big families on a budget.
- Zander has a big focus on identity restoration. The company will assist victims of identity theft with up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement.
📚 Related: Medical Identity Theft: How To Know If You’re a Victim →
7. PrivacyGuard: ID theft protection with limited device security
PrivacyGuard offers a useful identity theft protection app that helps you monitor and control your most valuable credit and identity information. Service alerts cover all three credit agencies, the Dark Web, and public online spaces.
Another popular feature of PrivacyGuard is access to a fraud resolution team that does most of the legwork to dispute fraudulent charges when dealing with credit agencies.
- 14-day trial period at $1 per day.
- Dedicated ID fraud resolution teams.
- Flexible credit, identity, and total protection options.
- No insurance or compensation coverage.
- PrivacyGuard doesn’t offer social media surveillance.
- 24/7 credit monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring
- Personalized credit report
- Personalized ID theft risk assessment
- Valuable document registration
- Cifas protective registration
- Access to your own fraud adviser.
Plans and costs:
Why do families choose PrivacyGuard?
- PrivacyGuard boasts some of the best utilities including robust antivirus protection and a credit calculator.
- If your credit takes a hit, you can use PrivacyGuard to initiate a credit freeze.
- There's no dedicated family plan from PrivacyGuard, nor can you add your family members to an existing individual account.
- Instead, you can set up PrivacyGuard to monitor the Social Security numbers of up to ten children.
Family Identity Theft Protection: FAQs
No family identity theft protection service is a catch-all. All services mentioned above, including Aura and Identity Guard are essential monitoring and recovery products. Protection against identity theft starts with a deliberate resolution to organize and limiting access to your personal information.
Aura and Identity Guard consolidate all your monitoring information on a single dashboard to save you time. Recovery steps may also seem daunting to do alone and involve dozens of man hours. This is where paid services are beneficial.
If you’ve made it this far, you know the importance of your family’s digital security. Here are some frequently asked questions to help your decision-making process.
Can I monitor my credit and bank accounts myself?
The reality is that you could do most of this stuff on your own. But it's a time-consuming, manual process.
Family identity theft protection services make it easier to be proactive about digital security than be reactive after a breach. With one dashboard that monitors your entire family's passwords, bank account numbers, and email accounts, you’re more informed than you would be on your own.
In doing so, these programs prevent identity theft. They also monitor the Dark Web as well as your credit file, alerting you if someone compromises your most valuable information.
Family identity theft protection — is it really worth it?
It’s a common misconception that simply subscribing to an ID theft protection service will prevent fraud. Signing up for a service and trusting that vendor with your PII are only step one and two.
Products like Aura and Identity Guard only become truly valuable if you take action based on the early alerts you get. When one dashboard flags potential vulnerabilities with your SSN or social media accounts, it’s easier to secure those accounts immediately.
Investment fraud cost Americans $1.6 billion in 2021, with a median loss of $3,000 per person. In the unfortunate event of a breach, fast remediation with expert guidance can be the difference between walking away unscathed or being swindled.
What are some common identity theft scams?
- Account takeover
- Debit or credit card identity theft
- Child identity theft
- Social Security number identity theft
- Tax identity fraud
- Driver’s license identity theft
- Online shopping fraud
- Senior identity theft
- Mail identity theft
- Medicare scams
Past FTC reports suggested that older citizens were more susceptible to scams. However, new data from February 2022, showed that 41% of victims were between the ages of 20–29. Any of your family members — the young or the elderly — could be victims of these ten most common scams:
How much does family identity theft protection cost?
The best "bang for your buck" plan that offers your family the most protection is Aura's Family Plan.
This option is $37/month, billed annually, or $50/mo billed monthly. You can try Aura for 14-days free before committing to an annual plan.
Aura’s Family plan provides coverage for up to five members of your family (kids or adults) which includes premium identity theft protection, credit monitoring, online security and privacy tools (like VPN, antivirus, and safe browsing) and $1 million in identity theft insurance for every adult member in your plan. Find a detailed breakdown here →
How do I know if my identity has been compromised?
- Your credit report doesn't seem accurate
- There’s suspicious activity on your credit card and bank statements
- Unexpected physical mail reach you from financial institutions
- Physical packages and mail go missing
- Your personal documents are lost or stolen
- Incoming phone calls and voicemail messages seek PII
- An unusual amount of texts or emails prompt clicks on spammy links
- Unfamiliar SMS verification codes show up in your inbox
- Your income tax return is way off or has already been filed
- Unfamiliar devices have access to your online accounts
More ways to spot scams: How To Know If Your Identity Has Been Stolen →
A family member’s identity was stolen. What should I do?
- File an Identity Theft Report with the FTC
- Report the identity theft to the credit bureaus
- Consider a credit freeze
- Notify your financial institutions
- Alert your cellular carrier to prevent SIM swapping
- Consider canceling your bank accounts and credit cards
- Immediately change the usernames and passwords to your online accounts
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free credit report from the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
Initial steps to recover your family member’s identity include initiating a fraud alert, freezing credit, filing an ID theft report, contacting all credit bureaus, and placing an extended fraud alert.