Recently we spoke to a victim of identity theft who agreed to share her story. In many ways, it's like thousands of others out there, but this one case of ID Theft led to sixteen other incidences involving the same perpetrator.
This one occurred several years ago in a major metropolitan mall. Here's what happened:
Our identity theft victim-to-be entered a high-end store that sells massage chairs, among other physical therapy items.
With an appointment time to meet, she was in a bit of a hurry, bought a smaller item for about $100. or so, but what she really wanted was a high-end massage chair for about $2,500. Before leaving, she quickly filled out a credit app for the chair and thinking everything would go through just fine, she left, and let them know she would be back to sign the papers and pick up her massage chair over the next few days or so.
About a week or so passed, and she forgot to go back to the store and pick up her chair. In the meantime, she got a call from Office Depot inquiring where she wanted to have about $2,000 worth of office furniture delivered. "Office furniture?" she thought, "I didn't buy this."
After some investigation, it turns out that the person who worked at the company selling the massage chair helped themselves to our friend's credit app information, such as name, social security, address, etc. The identity thief (who the victim suspects was the manager of the store where she applied for credit) then had plenty of information needed to open up any new accounts they wanted to. So, the thief had the audacity to stay right in the same mall and open up multiple accounts and ring up thousands of dollars in charges. Over time, the id thief used the information from the credit app to open up 16 fraudulent accounts. Eventually, all the fraudulent accounts were closed and, after a major headache of straightening out the whole mess, the person who contributed this first person account of id theft has a whole new attitude about giving out her personal information--and she is happy to be able to get email alerts to notify her of any changes to any one of her three credit reports, and she says she will put a fraud alert on her credit reports if she becomes a victim again.
With a fraud alert, if anyone tries to open up a credit account in her name (including her) the application should not go through until she personally provides the necessary information to get the account approved, giving them her personal ok.
Just another reason to continually monitor your credit reports, all three bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion)
Do you know what's in your credit report?
For peace of mind, and to give yourself a "first line of defense" against identity theft , monitor all three credit reports every day. This allows you to constantly be on the lookout for suspicious activity that may be a sign of potential identity theft. You can get your free credit history once per year for each credit bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com or you can:
Get Your Free Credit Report, Free Credit Score, and Free Daily Credit Monitoring of all 3 Credit Bureaus Free for 7 Days through the special offer on this website.
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