PHOENIX -- Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, and just about anyone can become a victim.
So, what are the early warning signs that your identity might have been hacked?
Well, according to www.credit.com, a good indicator is when you go to pay and your credit card is declined. Many consumers blow it off, thinking it might have been a "glitch" in the system. However, it's up to you to figure out why your credit card was denied.
Second, pay attention to your credit card and debit card statements and look for mysterious charges. You shouldn't just be checking for the "big" transactions.
Instead, you should scrutinize the small ones. Scammers try to fly under the radar by doing "test" runs, trying to test small transactions to see if they go through before hitting you with a big one.
Another red flag: merchandise you didn't order shows up on your doorstep.
Thieves will gain access to your online shopping accounts, but they'll forget to change the default mailing address.
If your monthly billing statements stop showing up, that's another sign that the crook has changed the billing address of certain accounts.
And finally, if your credit score takes a nose dive, be concerned. It's important to monitor your credit report closely to make sure all information on there is legitimate.
While you're at it, you might want to add a fraud alert to your report so you can be alerted when some activity is going on with it.
Credit card companies are getting better at detecting fraudulent charges, and if they see something weird, they'll usually call you. But in the end, you have to remain vigilant and stay on top of this stuff.