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Old 07-31-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Arkansas
1,230 posts, read 2,840,540 times
Reputation: 1551

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How many people here have had or no of someone who has had their Identity stolen?

I have a close to home story, because it is my husband.

In 2002 we went to buy a house and were turned down do to a collection from Sprint. Well neither of us had ever had anything with Sprint so we started researching and disputing ASAP. We found out that the account had been set up in Colorado (which we have both always lived in Arkansas). After disputing etc we got it taken off.

At that time we decided to pull a full report on my husband and it was at that time that we found out that someone had applied for over 100 loans/credit cards etc in my husbands name. Thank God we were just starting out and didn't have much credit history.
We had to go through the whole police report, fraud alert, etc stuff.

We also went to the Social Security office, to make sure this person wasn't working under my husbands social (he wasn't), but my husband ended up being given a new Social Security number because of the number of attempts made in such a short period of time. We were told not to use the old SS# for any reason.

We in turn had to get all of his credit that he did have transfered to his new SS#. Not an easy task, but we did get it done.

In 2003 the guy used it again, for Com cast, lucky that one was very easy to prove because Com cast doesn't have service where we live.
Filed another police report, fraud alert etc.

In 2004 the guy was at it again. This time he was able to purchase over $10,000 in jewelry from various stores in Colorado. He wasn't able to open an account on line so he went in person to the stores, with a fake Colorado ID in my husbands name. The companies completely ignored the fraud alerts, which state not to issue credit without contacting us at home and if unable to reach us by mail. They just went ahead and issued credit anyway.

Since we had an idea of where the person was, I called the stores( ie Gordon's, Zales etc) in the Denver area until I found the right one. I was able to talk to the employees who helped this guy. One of the store managers told me that she though something was not right, and tried to get the credit card company to put a hold on the account so they could do more checking but they wouldn't do it. We did finally get all the accounts removed.

We filed a police report with the Denver PD since that is where it happened. Lucky for us we got a good detective that actually cared and worked on it from 2004-current. The detective was able to find out who it was because he used a former address, he is a career criminal, he started to sign his name to one of the credit applications, and he was identified in a photo line up by the store employees and various different stores.

He was finally arrested this year, and released on $250,000 bond (he also had drug charges against him). In our case they offered him a plea bargain of 3 years in prison if he pleads guilty. He did not take it.
So in November we are going to trial and he is looking at up to 15 years in prison because of his previous criminal back ground and the number of counts against him in our case (which is 7 counts).
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:06 PM
 
Location: California
510 posts, read 3,009,468 times
Reputation: 383
Unfortunately in this day and age identity theft is becoming much more common. While you can take steps about being careful to protect yourself, it can happen to anyone. Let's just say you go apply for credit at a jewelry store... that person who takes your info could sell it to a criminal, and it's off to the races.

There are a few ways to protect yourself, however here is the very best one in my opinion. You can place a freeze on allowing anyone to pull your credit. You will be issued a "pin" number. This pin number will allow you to unlock your credit for set amount of time. So for example, if you know you're going to apply for a car loan... you unlock your credit for 3 days. This will allow them to pull your credit and process your loan. After the 3 days it's back on lockdown again.

Other things you can do to protect yourself would be just checking your credit reports. www.annualcreditreport.com is the correct spot to check your credit for free. You are allowed to look at each bureau once per year. So I would recommend checking one, not all three when you initially go there. Then in 4 months, check the next one, then the next in another 4 months. Rinse and repeat.

You can also pay companies to watch your credit. You will be alerted by any new account, and even credit inquiries. Many banks offer this for a small fee for thier customers now (through a 3rd party company).

It's one of those things that you're way better off investing the little amount of time to protect yourself...because once your credit is infected it will probably take years to remedy... as you've obviously pointed out with everything you went through.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Lived Large in Parsippany NJ - Lived Larger in Livingston, NJ -- Now Living Huge in Bethlehem PA
460 posts, read 2,000,644 times
Reputation: 447
Default Bravo

Quote:
Originally Posted by UseJeff View Post
Unfortunately in this day and age identity theft is becoming much more common. While you can take steps about being careful to protect yourself, it can happen to anyone. Let's just say you go apply for credit at a jewelry store... that person who takes your info could sell it to a criminal, and it's off to the races.

There are a few ways to protect yourself, however here is the very best one in my opinion. You can place a freeze on allowing anyone to pull your credit. You will be issued a "pin" number. This pin number will allow you to unlock your credit for set amount of time. So for example, if you know you're going to apply for a car loan... you unlock your credit for 3 days. This will allow them to pull your credit and process your loan. After the 3 days it's back on lockdown again.

Other things you can do to protect yourself would be just checking your credit reports. www.annualcreditreport.com is the correct spot to check your credit for free. You are allowed to look at each bureau once per year. So I would recommend checking one, not all three when you initially go there. Then in 4 months, check the next one, then the next in another 4 months. Rinse and repeat.

You can also pay companies to watch your credit. You will be alerted by any new account, and even credit inquiries. Many banks offer this for a small fee for thier customers now (through a 3rd party company).

It's one of those things that you're way better off investing the little amount of time to protect yourself...because once your credit is infected it will probably take years to remedy... as you've obviously pointed out with everything you went through.

=============

Well said and done UseJeff - I couldnt agree any less..!!! - bumped you up one notch.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Arkansas
1,230 posts, read 2,840,540 times
Reputation: 1551
Quote:
Originally Posted by UseJeff View Post
Unfortunately in this day and age identity theft is becoming much more common. While you can take steps about being careful to protect yourself, it can happen to anyone. Let's just say you go apply for credit at a jewelry store... that person who takes your info could sell it to a criminal, and it's off to the races.

There are a few ways to protect yourself, however here is the very best one in my opinion. You can place a freeze on allowing anyone to pull your credit. You will be issued a "pin" number. This pin number will allow you to unlock your credit for set amount of time. So for example, if you know you're going to apply for a car loan... you unlock your credit for 3 days. This will allow them to pull your credit and process your loan. After the 3 days it's back on lockdown again.

Other things you can do to protect yourself would be just checking your credit reports. www.annualcreditreport.com is the correct spot to check your credit for free. You are allowed to look at each bureau once per year. So I would recommend checking one, not all three when you initially go there. Then in 4 months, check the next one, then the next in another 4 months. Rinse and repeat.

You can also pay companies to watch your credit. You will be alerted by any new account, and even credit inquiries. Many banks offer this for a small fee for thier customers now (through a 3rd party company).

It's one of those things that you're way better off investing the little amount of time to protect yourself...because once your credit is infected it will probably take years to remedy... as you've obviously pointed out with everything you went through.

The freezes are only allowed in certain states. We tried to put on on my husbands old ss# and we couldnt because we live in Arkansas, and it isnt one of the states that has that law yet. At this point we check his credit every month, only thing is it can take up to 90 days for anything to show up so by that point they are gone. The fraud alerts and the companies that are suppose to watch your credit dont seem to work either, because we had both when his credit was used in 2003 and 2004. We never got a call or letter from anyone.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:16 PM
 
Location: California
510 posts, read 3,009,468 times
Reputation: 383
In that situation I feel the best thing for you would be a company that alerts you to "any" change in credit. For you, this has to do with credit inquiries. A credit inquiry shows up within about 10 minutes of the credit having been pulled. You can have this set up to send an e-mail, and text message you. This will give you about a 60 minute lag time of his credit being pulled. At this point, you can move quickly and contact the burueas and find out the creditors information, then call them immediately.

I didn't realize that it was state specific... I would think there has to be some sort of loophole. Maybe just use a relatives address for this one situation of locking down credit?
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,349,428 times
Reputation: 3185
Protecting Yourself from ID Thief

ID thief is on the rise and even if you don't use your cc's much you should be checking your statements monthly. If you aren't getting them monthly, call your cc company to make sure there hasn't been an address change made behind your back. Liz

Protecting Yourself from ID Thief

Password Protection

• Never share your passwords or PINs with anyone.
• Never write your passwords down where they could be easily found by others.
• When creating passwords, don't use information that could be easily linked to you (like your birth date, phone number, or the names of pets or hobbies).
• Change your password often.
• If you decide to revoke any access to an aggregation service that you have shared your password with, we recommend changing your password.

Online Banking

• Never leave your computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service.
• Always logoff completely when you are finished with your secure session.
• If you are providing financial information, be sure the site is secure. Look for the "closed padlock" in the lower right hand corner of your browser.
• Do business with financial institutions that you know and trust.
• Watch out for copycat sites that may try to look like a financial institution. Be sure you are using the correct Web address for your bank.
• If you're considering an "online bank" verify the bank is legitimate and that deposits are insured by the FDIC.
• Only access your personal financial information from a computer you "trust". Internet kiosks and cyber cafe's may not be as secure as your personal computer.

Shopping Online


• When placing orders online, check for the "closed padlock" that is usually located in the lower left-hand corner of your browser. This means that your information will be encrypted.
• Consider registering your credit card* or Visa check card* with "Verified by Visa" — a new online service created to prevent online credit card fraud. When your card is registered, and the online merchant you are using participates in the program, a PIN you designate
is required to complete the transaction process.
• Shop with online merchants that you know and trust.

Browsing the Internet
• Before entering any personal or financial information on any Web site, we strongly suggest you review the security and privacy policies listed on that site.
• Keep your browser updated. Newer versions have the latest safety features. It's also important to know which browsers are recommended by the sites you are viewing.

Email

• Email is not generally considered secure.
• Never enter personal financial information such as account numbers or your SSN in an email.
• Use secure messaging when it's available. Most online banking applications have a secure messaging feature, such as an online form.
• Be wary of opening suspicious emails or their attachments — especially from someone you don't know. Viruses can be passed along, even without the sender's knowledge.
• Beware of email scams. If an email describes a virus that is circulating, be sure to verify it with the Web site of one of the virus software manufacturers.

Protecting Your Children

• Know what your children are doing online.
• Be open with your children about things that concern you about the Internet (chatting with strangers, pornography, etc.) and let them know what they should do if they encounter these things.
• Consider using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides controls to block sites that are not appropriate for children.
• Install software that allows you to set up barriers to control access to sites and prevent the entry of private information.
• Visit the Federal Trade Commission's Web site Kidz Privacy Kidz Privacy (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/kidzprivacy/ - broken link) to learn more about how your children can be protected when using the Internet.


What is identity theft?


Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and poses as you. They may open credit card accounts, apply for loans, rent apartments and establish cell phone service — all in your name.
In many instances, they request address changes for you, so you never see the bills for their activity. These impersonators spend as much money as possible — in a very short time. Most people never know this is happening until they apply for a loan or receive a call from a collection agency. Clearing up the effects of identity theft can be a nightmare, and it takes time. You can spend months or even years re-establishing your creditworthiness.


How is personal financial information stolen?


• Over the phone — by someone posing as your employer, bank or other service provider to confirm or update your information
• From your mailbox — stealing items in your mailbox (incoming and outgoing) such as credit card offers, account statements & bill payments
• Your garbage can — discarded bank statements, credit card offers, canceled checks
• Internet sites — entering personal information on a site that is not secure
• Where you shop — a clerk may copy personal information written on a check
• Post Office — someone may initiate a change of address on your behalf
How can I help prevent identity theft?
• Regularly review your credit reports. The credit bureaus offer services, such as Equifax Credit Watch,
http://tinyurl.com/5qb47 (broken link) that can help you monitor any inquiries against your credit file.
• Don't give out financial information on the phone unless you initiated the call. This means your Social Security number, credit card or checking account numbers. Your bank will never call you and ask you to provide that information.
• Store all personal and financial information in a safe place, especially if you have outside workers in your home.
• Report any lost or stolen checks immediately. Ask your bank to stop payment on any missing checks.
• Review your new checks when delivered to make sure none are missing.
• Store new checks and canceled checks in a safe place. Be sure to tear up or shred any checks that you are discarding.
• Don't share any of your passwords or PINs. Be sure you enter them discreetly so no one can see. Also, properly store or dispose of your ATM receipts.
• Tear up any financial solicitations or documents before throwing away. We recommend using a shredder when possible.
• Outgoing mail should be placed in a secure mailbox, instead of being left in your own mailbox.
• Pick up your mail promptly. If you're going to be on vacation, ask someone you trust to collect your mail for you while you are away, or ask the Post Office to hold your mail until you return. You can get an
Authorization to Hold Mail form at your local post office, or you can access it online on the US Postal Service's Web site — USPS - Find a Form. Or, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
• Keep an eye on your monthly bills. If they don't arrive as expected, contact the company to investigate. Look for any suspicious charges and report them immediately.


What do I do if I'm a victim?


If you find you have become a victim of identity theft, you should take action by communicating with the credit bureaus and any companies that may be involved. Many financial institutions and companies that conduct
business on the Internet have become the target of fraudulent email and Web site scams. These scams are known as “phishes,” (pronounced “fishes”) and they attempt to illegally obtain clients' personal and
account information. Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and banks hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The theft of your credit cards is a common way to commit fraud, but someone can use your account number fraudulently while your card sits safely in your wallet.

The following tips will help you reduce the chances that you will become a victim of credit card fraud:
• Sign your cards immediately once they arrive in the mail. Also put *Please check photo ID* underneath your signature and insist on it being checked anytime you use it.
• Memorize your PIN and don't write it on anything, especially something in your wallet.
• Don't enter your card online unless you're on a secure site. Don't send your credit card number in an email.
• Keep a record of all your account numbers, expiration dates, and contact information for each
issuer. This will come in handy if your wallet is lost or stolen.
• Report a lost or stolen card right away. Quick action will minimize potential loss and liability.
• Save your receipts to compare against your billing statement. When discarding receipts, tear them up or
shred them.
• Monitor your statements monthly, making sure you recognize all charges. If you see any suspicious transactions, contact your bank immediately.
• Carefully review receipts for voided transactions and be sure they do not post to your account.
• Destroy your carbons. Do not leave them behind without tearing them up.
• Don't leave your purse, wallet, cards or receipts unattended. Always keep them secure or in your sight.
• Only carry cards that you need, leaving others in a safe place at home.
• Don't give out your account number unless you know and trust the company.
Here are some precautions to consider when using an ATM:
• Be sure ATM and parking lot are well lit when using at night. Avoid going alone.
• Don't use an ATM if you notice any suspicious activity. It is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Find another ATM, or come back at a safer time. Report any suspicious activity to the police.
• Don't count your money at the ATM. Wait until you are in your car or, even better, are safely at home.
• When using Drive-up ATMs, keep your doors locked, other windows rolled up and the car running.
• Prepare yourself by filling out all deposit slips ahead of time.
• Report your lost or stolen card immediately.

• When traveling, here are some security precautions to consider:
• Carry limited cash. Use traveler's checks or withdraw money with your ATM card as you need it. Keep your traveler's check receipts in a safe place that is separate from your traveler's checks.
• Keep a spare credit card in a safe place. Only carry the cards that you'll need. If your wallet gets stolen or lost, you'll have another credit card you can use.
• Know where you're going. It's a good idea to find out where the less safe parts of town are so you can avoid them, especially at night.
• Make a photocopy of your passport. Keeping a photocopy of your passport will help if yours is lost or stolen. In the event of loss or theft of your passport, visit the closest US embassy or consulate.
• Don't let your mail accumulate while you're away. If you're going to be on vacation, ask someone you trust to collect your mail for you while you are away, or ask the Post Office to hold your mail until you
return. You can get an Authorization to Hold Mail form at your local post office, or you can access it online on the US Postal Service's Web site — USPS - Find a Form. Or, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.

If you're a victim of fraud, here are some important actions you should take:
• File a report with your police department. Make sure to keep a copy for your files.
• Contact the fraud departments of all three credit bureaus and let them know you are a victim of identity theft. They can place a "fraud alert" on your file. This informs any credit grantors that they should be especially careful when authenticating anyone who is applying for credit in your name. You should also request copies of your credit report from each bureau. This request must be in writing and they should be free if you mention you have experienced fraud. For
further information, contact each bureau at the numbers listed below.
o
o Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
o Experian: 1-888-397-3742
o Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
• Contact all lending institutions that issued a fraudulent account in your name. Close all the accounts immediately.
• Report the incident to the Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338. This hotline is operated by the federal government and is a central point for reporting identity theft. You can also report the incident via their Web site at Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft or by mail at:
Identity Theft Clearing House
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20508
• Contact your nearest postal inspection service if you believe your mail has been stolen. Check United States Postal Service - Postal Inspection Service Locator (http://www.usps.com/ncsc/locators/find-is.html - broken link) for the closest office near you.
• Close all your accounts that have had a fraudulent address change. When re-opening accounts, ask that a special password be required when making any changes to your account.
• Contact the major check verification companies if you have had any checks stolen or used fraudulently. They can help you track your checks.
o Equifax Check Systems: 1-800-437-5120
o Cross Check: 1-707-586-0431
o SCAN: 1-800-262-7771
o TeleCheck: 1-800-710-9898
• Contact your broker and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) if you suspect your investment accounts have been tampered with. You can submit your complaint online to the SEC at Complaints? What to do or you can write or call them at :
SEC Office of the Investor Education and Assistance
450 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC 20549- 0213
1-202-942-7040

True story, my husband and I have been victims of Identity Theft TWICE. Once when our cc/debit card number was stolen while we were staying in a hotel and once when we ordered replacement checks. Someone ordered a debit card for us to be delivered to him.

The first one took us 3 months to catch cause the charges never exceeded $49.95 a month. The second one took us 36 hours to catch. Both times, our bank was extremely helpful.

One thing we have learned out of this is to take every account you have and special passcode it. Usually they ask for mother's or father's middle or maiden name. We refuse to give that and make them take a special passcode instead. And they do it. And neither my husband or I will talk to the company involved until they verify that passcode. Liz
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:18 PM
 
Location: California
510 posts, read 3,009,468 times
Reputation: 383
Did you type all of that? Great info...
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Arkansas
1,230 posts, read 2,840,540 times
Reputation: 1551
While I agree with all of what has been said, sometimes it really does not help. In my husbands case, we have no idea who this person is or how he got his info. Which in that case makes it even harder, because it is hard to fight someone , when you dont even know who you are suppose to be looking for.
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,349,428 times
Reputation: 3185
Quote:
Did you type all of that?
I culled it from several sources and have it on my own forum. I check it periodically to make sure it's current.

Quote:
While I agree with all of what has been said, sometimes it really does not help.
You're right, sometimes it doesn't BUT for 99.99999999% of the people, it's a place for them to start.

If they have done all that, the chances of being hit ARE greatly reduced. Liz
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:19 PM
 
Location: South Florida
564 posts, read 1,732,610 times
Reputation: 253
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to southernlady5464 again. Can't say I'm not trying, Liz.
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