Saturday, August 11, 2007

It could happen to you

Identify theft! We hear about it everywhere - TV, radio, newspaper, but we never think it will happen to us. We're careful with our account numbers, our credit cards, our banking information. We're safe!

But let me be the first to say this - It does happen. We should know. It has happened to us.

We found out yesterday.

I'm religious about checking our online banking account each morning to confirm what posted the night before. Yesterday morning was no different, except for a mysterious debit for I called Kevin right away to make sure he didn't make the purchase. Nope.

So I immediately called the bank. I had to go in to fill out a form to recoup the money, but while I was there the banker noted four new charges that hadn't yet posted. We didn't make those purchases. In fact, they were made online with overseas companies.

So I called one of the companies. They had my credit card number, my name, but a different address. This address is unlisted. So, to be safe, we had to close all our accounts to make sure no more activity would take place. Right before a vacation in which we planned to use the bank card for expenses...

Plus, I had to place a hold on all the credit cards so we can monitor those accounts.

But we had to go farther since we knew someone had our names and numbers; we had to place alerts with all the credit bureaus. We purchased service from Equifax using our both social security numbers to check recent activity. And it's a good thing we did.

Kevin has three mysterious accounts opened in his name that he does not have. All with purchases on them. All with up-to-date payment activity.

I have four mysterious accounts, again, with purchases and up-to-date payments.

We've contacted one credit card, and they say the account does not exist so the next step is to work with Equifax on Monday to remove the activity.

Hopefully, this all works out, and we can relax some on our vacation.


Kristy LaVella said...

Ouch! Hope it works out okay. I know what you're gong throuh... A few years ago someone stole all of my information to ring up a Sprint cell phone account nearly totaling $10,000! Needless to say we found out that all of my info, including ssn, home number, and name, was used in four different addresses all within 10 miles from our house. It took 3 months to clear my credit reports. We never found the exact person, but narrowed it down to an "inside" job. GRRR!!! Best of luck:)

Randy & Regina said...

That is so freaky! We hope everything works out for you guys. We're thinking about you and wishing you peace of mind on your vacation. Take care.

Brad said...

Jen and everyone. By law, you are authorized one free credit check a year by all three of the credit bureaus. I'm not talking about the websites you see advertised on tv. Check with your bank and online banking sites. This should be listed on their homepage...

You can sign up for credit monitoring services from here as well, but that is not the main focus.

Always be careful with debit, credit, and ATM slips. Invest in a shredder and use it religiously.

The Kramer's said...

Is it time for you to be home yet?? I am in need of an Isabella fix!! :-)
Miss and Love you guys!
See you soon,

Stacy said...

Several years ago, we had about a dozen mysterious charges appear on our FirstMerit bankcard. Turns out FM was dealing with a huge number of customers who's card numbers had been compromised by an operation in Canada. Apparently someone (or many) were running a computer program to find the right 16-digit combinations of numbers (like on a Visa) and using the numbers fraudulently. It was so bad, FM started declining any Canadian purchases on their bankcards. I'm sure that was inconvenient for business travelers, but it was no more convenient for me when money began disappearing out of my checking account.