When it comes to all the day to day challenges we face and obstacles we have to overcome, I’m sure Identity Theft isn’t top on your list. Until it happens and what a nightmare it can be.
Recently, an associate of ours received a letter in the mail from a major credit card processing company:
Re: Your Account 1234-5678-9101-1121
At our major credit card company, we are committed to protecting customers. Recently, we detected suspicious activity on an account that was opened using your name and personal information.
To protect you from fraudulent activity, this account has been temporarily restricted to prevent further transactions. Please contact us as soon as possible at (555-555-5555) to verify the recent activity on your account.
If we have taken the above action in error, your account will be reinstated and available for purchases.
They weren’t that upset until they found out that the credit card company was using their Name, Address, Social Security Number and Birthdate. They had unauthorized credit card transactions processed in the past; but, that was a simple fix 1, 2, 3… New Card and you’re good to go.
- When credit card companies get your Social Security Number that is a different level of risk.
The Customer Service Representative was very helpful and aware of how upset our associate was that their Social Security Number had been compromised. She first asked, “Do you know who took it?” “No, I have no idea!” they said. They keep all their personal information stored away and never carry it with them. They shred old credit card statements and pay for almost everything online.
Then it hit them… it had to be something online. With all the National Data Breaches going on around us, how can we identify where our information is being leaked from?
IMMEDIATE INSTRUCTIONS TO FOLLOW IF YOU’RE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT:
- On the major credit card account, they received notification on, CANCEL IT and KEEP IT CANCELLED. In this case, the account, fortunately, had a “ZERO” balance.
- Contact the Credit Bureau IMMEDIATELY. It was after hours, so they called several. The most helpful was Equifax at 1.888.766.0008 the audio response unit took the information via touch-tone phone, issued them a Confirmation Response Code and informed them they would notify TransUnion and Experian. They put a block on any credit approvals in their name unless they are contacted directly. (For their own peace of mind they followed up with Trans Union and Experian.) They were pleased to know all these companies are working together to keep us all a little safer. Their security alert was already posted on all three bureaus.
- Get online and review your three credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, this can be done on one site. (Their only discrepancy was on the notice they received.)
- File a report with local law enforcement. Our associate had an appointment to meet with the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Division and was instructed to bring in all their documentation. Even though one account was opened and closed with no losses, the officer said it was a good idea to come in to qualify for the 7-year credit alert on their accounts, they agreed. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov
This site: has been most helpful in directing me on how to handle my identity theft and offers other helpful hints on how to avoid becoming a VICTIM!
If identity theft turns into something more… you may want to consider a private investigation from our sister company, eGuarded.