Identity Theft... what you need to know
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|Tue, 11-13-2012 - 4:25pm|
In the past year, we have had our CC compromised 3 times. The first time, last fall-- some JA sent $3k worth of "grow" lights to our residence, confirmed our address and was going to come by and pick them up. UPS sent them back, I spent MONTHS dealing with our credit union in trying to get it straightened out. In June, again-- strange charges our credit card-- this time, someone actually MADE a card with our number and was using it around town This guy, the police caught and he is on trial-- but alas, again-- PITA with credit union AND my back up emergency credit card wasn't smooth sailing either. In August, we signed up with Chase Sapphire Preferred... live people, incredible customer service.... a few weeks ago, strange activity, they called and within 48 hours, I had new cards and all was good.
Fast forward.... now I figure I better take a look and see if there's anything weird on our credit rating. Did you know that you can request a FREE report EVERY YEAR from each of the big 3 credit bureaus? here's the website:
FYI. you do NOT get your credit score-- you can for like an additional $8.
Go thru and print out all three reports.... they pretty much all have the same info, but it's free and it's good to go thru it.
Things I have learned:
1. When your CC is compromised... file a police report.
2. You can call one of the credit bureaus (I did transunion and their fraud # is: 1-800-680-7289) and get a 90 FREE fraud alert placed on your account (and when you have it one, they automatically send the alert to the other two). I plan to mark my calendar and continue to do that every 3 months-- but I also am checking because since we have officially had fraud, that I can get a 7 year alert put on it. What that means is that NO ONE is authorized to look at your account w/o your go ahead. Do note that it is common for banks in which you have loans with will check your credit once/twice a year.
Why an alert? When I was looking at my credit report, I noticed that in a span of 1 1/2 years, that AMX had been checking my credit every two weeks.... give or take for over a year. That is FISHY to me. I do NOT have an acct with them and so my guess (and AMX, as I tracked down their fraud dept and called them out) but that someone has been trying to open account in my name and keeps trying different numbers in the hopes of one day getting it correct.
Here's also a GREAT website to learn more: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
and this is a MUST READ: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt04.pdf
Don't put this off... especially with the holidays coming up, be prepared. Like I said, our b/u credit card turned out to not be active because we didn't use it over a year.... also, prepare for the worst. When I initially stopped our CC with the credit union, the guy accidently blocked BOTH our debit/checking actt and our savings and credit card... meaning... with that institution, you have to wait 10 days for new cards. 10 days is a long time to be w/o a way of getting money out. With the Chase company, we had report it Saturday afternoon, new cards at my door on Monday (but note the yearly fee is $95 after the first year which is free but it also has excellent bonus mile perks).