Is this some sort of credit scam?

Something weird has been happening and I’m hoping someone here might be able to help me figure this out. A few weeks ago my wife received a magazine subscription that we did not order. The first name was my wife’s name and the last name was a bastardized spelling of our last name. I called the magazine to stop the subscription and asked them what address the bill was being sent to. They told me the bill was being sent to my address.

Just today my wife received a credit card denial notice from Discover. The name is the same that is on the magazine subscription. We called the credit card and they informed us that the SSN and date of birth used was not my wife’s. I’m confused…why would someone use the wrong information with a similar spelled name and my address to apply for credit. At first I thought this was an attempt at identity theft but it seems that someone trying to steal my wife’s identity would first change the address. Does anyone know if this is some sort of credit scam? This person obviously does not have my wife’s information and can’t even spell our last name correctly. If anyone is familiar with this type of thing I’d appreciate any information about this sort of thing.

They are trying, keep an eye on your credit. Maybe a newbie, or they’re just trying to get it to go through, ( the subscription did ) so they can try a large cc purchase. (Discover card people did their homework and caught it). ID thieves will try anything and everything, they don’t really care if the name and SS # or even the address are correct, they just want to gain access to credit, buy stuff they can resell, then get drunk, stoned, whatever. They probably tried the subscription first to see if it passed, then tried to get instant credit somewhere, and it failed, so they walked. Discover is required to send out the denial letter which probably got there before the first bill would have. In fact, the subscription was probably a part and parcel of the credit application.

Beware though, if they get it right or get someone who is lazy, you are in for a long road to fix your credit. I was hit in 1999 I believe, I still had fraudulent stuff on my credit report right up until we filed bankruptcy 2007.

Your wife needs to put a fraud alert on her credit report NOW. Do not wait another minute.

Also, speak to your bank. If they have your name and address, they might have access to a lot more than just your credit. Most banks have an identity theft protection package that will monitor your accounts and help you make sense of this. Speak to a personal banker as soon as you can to protect your personal accounts.

Back in the day, one of the pranks you would pull on an “Ex” you held a grudge against was to fill out magazine subscriptions and basically any no postage required application in your ex’s name and address. It’s not ID theft, in the sense of gain for the thief, but it’s a prank with the potential for some real damage.

I’ve never done and recommend against it, but I know people who have.

Thanks for the replies! I am taking the steps suggested and considering one of those identity theft protections sites like LifeLock. This person doesn’t have the correct last name but they do have our address and a first name. But you can get this info from a phone book. I just can’t seem to understand how a scam like this could work. They applied for credit using my address with a wrong name, DOB, and SSN…doesn’t make sense to me.

Maybe they got the data from someone else who just made up a bunch of info. So the ID thief may have been scammed by someone else selling supposedly valid personal data.

You don’t have to sign up for LifeLock or any other credit protection service. You can contact each of the 3 credit bureaus to put some kind of block/freeze on your account.

Here is some info from Equifax on seting a Fraud Alert on your account, which should cause lenders to attempt extra steps to verify any new accounts. This is only 90 days and I think you can do it again after that.

There also seems to be something called a Security Freeze, which they may or may not be able to charge you for depending on your state. That seems to prevent any new accounts altogether, and you will have to pay to lift the freeze temporarily if you ever apply for new credit.

Remember to check your credit report for free, yearly, at