View Full Version : What do I do if my identity is stolen?
09-11-2008, 02:27 PM
What do I do if my identity is stolen?
09-11-2008, 02:58 PM
What do I do if my identity is stolen?
Gee, broad question.
Did someone actually impersonate you, get passports/licenses in your name?
Or, just use your credit card information to buy a bunch of crap?
The answer will depend on the type and extent of theft/fraud.
At a minimum you are going to want to contact the three major credit bureaus and put a flag on your credit report such that no new accounts can be opened using your information without some high-level of personal verification from you.
09-11-2008, 03:12 PM
There are a ton of webpages about exactly that (though be warned a large percentage of them are ones trying to flog you unessacary credit reporting services that you will never get off your credit card). Here is the FTC's page:
There is one huge ommision that most pages on this subject miss. If, as part of the ID theft, someone sets up bank accounts in your name you most likely have detrimental records in your name at Chex Systems. The usual "big three" credit agencies will not have this information, and Chex Systems do their best to keep a low profile, but they are covered by the FCRA and they have to give you a copy of thier report, and let you dispute it. This is really worth doing as otherwise you can think you are free and clear but you'll find out when you try and open a new bank account that this still a ton of stuff in your name (this is what happened to me).
Their webpage is here (https://www.consumerdebit.com/consumerinfo/us/en/index.htm) (notice how it goes to some length to hide the fact it is in fact the offical page for chex-systems, not just a generic consumer info website, but it is).
09-11-2008, 03:15 PM
Start your research here. Now.
If you wait until after your ID is stolen, you are just that much already behind the eight-ball. Be proactive and prepare for it, even if it may never happen. A couple of years ago, my bank lost a laptop being shipped by them between two regional centers. About 300,000 of us had our account details in it. The laptop was never recovered.
My bank gave me a 12 month subscription to an ID alert company. Whoop-de-do.
During that 12 month period I received regular updates about my credit access history and other details. No attacks. I don't think any of the other 299,999 were victims of ID theft as a result of the laptop loss. The speculation is the laptop was stolen, wiped of data and sold for cash.
At the same time, I took active control of my ID theft possibilities. We practice lots of due diligence at home. Any paperwork where our names are listed in any manner that goes out in the weekly recycling is already shredded. With some critical documents, if I can't burn them in my backyard, they are shredded, mixed with used kitty litter and go out in the regular trash. Even the addresses labels from FedEx, UPS and other delivery boxes are ripped off of the boxes and shredded. We keep all receipts, including ATM withdrawal receipts. All are checked against the credit card bills and statements.
I never sign for a credit card purchase using one of those electronic screen just sign here thingies. Either give me a hard copy receipt to sign, take the e-signature I provide (a straight line) or forget it. Several years ago, allegedly Best Buy got caught out because their credit card e-screen thingies were all connected to the cash registers via wireless and not cables. Someone sat outside one of their stores using a laptop and large wireless antenna. They grabbed all the details of credit card transactions, including actual signatures, and made a bundle off of the ripped off accounts. Even our magazine subscriptions are checked. We use bogus middle initials with our magazine subscriptions, with each one being different. It's real easy to see which magazine sells our details to others.
We're not striving for perfection. In a pack of folks all running away from the charging grizzly bear, all we need to be are not the last ones in the pack. We try to fly under the ID theft scammer radar. Fine by me. If my neighbor doesn't shred his stuff, not my problem. He will be the one who gets it. If you don't believe me, do some simple dumpster diving the day before pickup at your local apartment complex. I'm betting it's a gold mine of clear receipts, utility bills, statements, etc.
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