August 31, 2007

ID Theft- First Step

Posted in Fraud, IDTheft at 11:45 am by a11en

Quick post here, guys. I’ve sent a Fraud alert to all three credit report companies. This can be done over the phone, and is the first step to stopping any future attempts at obtaining accounts in your name.

This page from the FTC was extremely useful (more info than included here): ID Theft Immediate Steps

The numbers of all three Credit Report companies (as of Friday; August 31, 2007) are:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

They are required to send notice to the others, so you only need contact one to report the fraud, and place a “Fraud Alert” on your account. This alert stays for 90 days, which is likely just enough time to get things in order and figure out what the heck happened. There is an option for a 7-year long-term Fraud File on your report, which I am going to file this month. The longer-term filing makes a lot of sense to me, as I fear this may be the old case from 2004 cropping up again. [The thieves have the tendency to keep your info and recycle it after periods of time are passed for this very same reason.]

I also suspect, given the nature of this type of Fraud Alert (no police report required to file this type of alert) is the type of Fraud Alert which is used by LifeLock and other companies to keep credit companies calling you personally on the phone for any requested lines of credit. [You’d think this would be the standard approach to credit, eh? Well, it’s not… anyone can open a credit line in your name, and you’ll never know about it until it defaults, or you’re regularly checking your credit reports- even then, it might be too late, as this never prevents the damage from occurring in the first place.] So, if you wanted to be your own LifeLock company (without signing over limited powers of attorney to unknown people), simply call up the credit report companies every 90 days and re-instate the over-the-phone Fraud Alert for another 90 days. [Since this time-frame matches those of these companies- i.e., every 4 months, an oil-change… I suspect this is the very thing they are doing.]

Since I’ve actually been a victim of ID Theft, I’ll be filing the longer-term 7 year report.

So, just a bit of an update. As I go through this, I’ll share more, and try and give pointers as to what you can do to keep your credit and name safe.

Next step will be going through the Credit Reports and obtaining your free-report from all three companies (required to be allowed by law at least once a year for all consumers as I understand it).

Fun fun fun… (updates coming soon)

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3 Comments »

  1. steve said,

    im in the same situation as you, can u email me with ur email address?

  2. a11en said,

    Hi Steve!

    If we can, can we do initial discussions in the comments? I’d like to keep the discussion about ID Theft and what to do, etc., in the context of the blog to help everyone with this situation. I have to admit I haven’t done much of late, due to work commitments this week, but I should be within the week, and then I’ll post another update.

    I hate to be a bit anonymous in this, but I hope you’ll understand my interest in focusing on solutions for everyone who might come across the posts, as well as both of us. 🙂

    It’s not the end of the world usually, but there are many frustrating aspects related to ID theft. Many of them are out of our control, but the companies are getting better at handling these things.

    If you have not yet placed the temporary fraud-alerts on your credit records, you should do so immediately. Call up any one of the numbers above, and follow the directions. Backing that up with a written letter as well as information regarding contacting the authorities will help place a 7-year fraud alert on your account.

    I have a suspicion this isn’t going away anytime soon for me, so it will most likely be learning how to deal with this.

    Unfortunately, as you dig more, you’ll learn a lot of this is the fault of companies who allow the use of fraudulent information to obtain credit in other people’s names, as well as the improper use of SS#’s as identification for accounts, etc. The truth is, the *default* for all credit-applications should be to contact the person who owns the credit-rating and personally request authorization for a credit-approval. How they get away with approving credit-lines without explicit authorization and contact via the known permanent addresses on the credit-line is beyond me.

    We can do a lot by never using our SS# for anything that is not related to taxes or directly with employment. And also refusing to do business with any company that uses SS# numbers, or is known to have too much Fraud associated with their accounts. I for one, will never ever be getting a T-mobile account, no matter how good the company gets, and this is primarily due to my experience as a fraud-victim of their own account practices.

    Please let us know a bit more about your situation, if you can, keep all personal information out of your posts, just general stuff. This has affected a lot of people, Steve, and you’re definitely not alone. But, perhaps we can learn from you as well as my case!

    Thanks for stopping by, Steve!!
    -Allen

  3. CreditGuy said,

    Wow. This is some pretty in-depth advice.


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