Though I’ve on the case re: internet tracking, I’ve gotta admit that I’d been pretty cavalier re: identity theft on a personal level.
Not any more.
I’ve been hacked and “thieved”.
And, take it from me, it isn’t pretty.
Here’s what happened and what I’ve learned that might help you …
In a nutshell, some bad guys got hold of my ID-info … for sure the easy stuff: name, address, age … some indication that the SS# might have been snagged.
Technical note: I don’t how my info got compromised, but the “events” started soon after I e-filed my tax return … for the very first time.
A year ago, “they” tried to open store credit card accounts at a couple of places – Best Buy and Aeropostale (really !) … the credit card companies’ fraud systems worked … the applications were rejected and I got letters at my home address notifying me of the rejections.
But, one of my “live” credit accounts was also hacked into online … with a request that a new credit card be issued.
That slipped through the system … but fortunately, the new card was mailed to me … so, after some head-scratching, I was able to figure out what happened and cancel it.
The events freaked me, so I filed a fraud alert with the credit bureaus (more on that later) and signed-up for a LifeLock-like ID guard service.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.
I got emails from the ID guard service that 2 credit bureaus had received “inquiries” against my credit files.
An inquiry usually signals that a credit application has been submitted.
Turns out that there was an attempt to apply for a new credit card in my name. That was stopped.
Ironically, the application was for a VISA Travel Rewards card … that’s ironic since I hate to travel … to me, travel rewards would be more like travel punishments
Also,, one of my existing credit card accounts was hacked online … and, a new card was requested.
It was approved and was in the process of being mailed … again to my address (huh?).
Continuing the ironic twist, this one was a an AMEX Delta Miles card … give me a break, please.
Thanks to the ID guard service and my fast reaction, I was able to cancel the card with no damage.
Finally – I hope – I got notified that RoadLoans.com – an Texas based auto financing outfit that doesn’t even give the option to press 1 for English – got an application in my name for an auto loan.
Again, I was able to head it off at the pass,
Knock on wood, this flurry of cyber fraud against me is over … at least for now.
Basically no harm, no foul … except for the hours it took me to unscrabble the mess … and my lingering elevated pulse rate
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I learned from this fiasco that may help you when it happens to you.
P.S. I’ve concluded that it’s not a matter of “if” … it’s a matter of “when”.