Friday, November 04, 2005

ID Theft Victim Stories Fuel Prevention Need

Still not enrolled yet with an automatic credit
monitoring service to monitor and protect you from
identity theft fraud?

Or, how about just pulling your most recent credit
report and public info profile to check for identity fraud,
SSN theft, or simple errors which could cause you
major problems in the near future with your credit score?

What about taking advantage of the prescreen opt out
(credit solicitations) or Acxiom opt out (marketing
lists)?

Consider the following identity theft victim stories
from the BBB as strong evidence to reconsider your
decision to not take advantage of credit and account
monitoring to detect unauthorized activity in time to
avoid the lengthy time, frustration, & expense to
clear your name:

"On May 27, I received a letter from (a phone company)
stating that they had closed my account due to unpaid
accounts with other creditors. After
researching the situation, I determined that I was a
victim of identity theft. Specifically, someone used
my social security number to get a credit card
with (a bank), did not payoff the balance, and the
fraudulent account has been sold to a collection
agency. This fraudulent action has taken my credit
rating from 100% to 30%."
- TX

"A major retail store places an unstaffed kiosk in its
store where customers can apply for and receive
in-store credit instantly and automatically; someone
did this in my name at a store in (Illinois) last
December and racked up $850 in debt, which I only
discovered last week when a collection agency tracked
me down."
- IL

"My ex-husband used my name and my (social security
number) to get a (credit) card and charged almost
$4,000 on this card. Now, (the bank) has hired an
attorney to come after me for this money! I have never
had a (credit card) through
(this bank)... "
- NC

"In October 2003, I was a victim of identity theft. An
unauthorized person... used my... credit card number
to purchase items in the total amount of $1,326.54 -
in 9 days. My card was in my wallet the entire time.
We do not know for sure how the
number was appropriated."
- VA

"(The company) alleges an (over $ 17,000) balance on a
(bank) credit card. In July of 2000, (the bank)
contacted me for suspected identity theft which proved
to be the case. The theft of my personal information
was reported to multiple credit bureaus
and all was resolved until (a collection agency) began
to contact me. Today (the collection agency)
threatened to put a lien against me."
- PA

"My identity was stolen without my knowledge. I
received a bill from (a hospital) in April for (March
2003). I called to tell (the hospital) that it was not
me, and they said they would send an itemized bill for
me to dispute. They denied any
information to me or my insurance company. I did not
receive the statements. I kept receiving collection
calls. I called them again in May to say the services
were not mine, and they informed me that the person
used my identity to gain services a second time --
making this a total of 4 visits and (over) $14,000."

-FL

So, our tip for today is to consider utilizing any of
the available sources for you and your family members
to protect and prevent identity theft. Or at the very
least catch it early enough in time to mitigate your
personal liability from fraud.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we shed light on
why congress seems destined to not respond to the
needs of over 45 state level attorney generals request
for a comprehensive, national level consumer
disclosure law.

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