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Identity Theft is Stressful

Updated: Jun 18

Identity theft is stressful. I learned that last month when I opened my mail to read I had a new credit card which I had not applied for. Another letter that day from the same credit card company notified me regarding my address change. I called the credit card company who issued the card, and they directed me to their fraud department. After they closed that account, they directed me to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at (1-877-438-4338). This is where you will report the crime. Then they will provide a recovery plan and instruct you on what to do.

You will be contacting one of the major credit bureaus, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They are required to contact the other two. After doing this, they will put a “freeze” on your credit. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report to minimize the chance of identity thieves opening new accounts in your name. You’ll need to give personal consent for your credit to be viewed.

I did all that and a month later, I opened my mail to discover another credit card with a different account number. When I called the credit card company, they said it may have been done before the credit freeze. They also encouraged me to make a police report. After going to our local police department, I was surprised to find out that the officer who helped me fills out an identity theft police report several times a week. I did end up contacting all three credit bureaus, and none of them had done the freeze. So, it’s important to follow up to make sure this is done.

How does this even happen? The police officer said there are so many ways criminals steal a person’s information. Sometimes they hack into systems or buy a list from someone else who has stolen the information. About two months before this all happened, I was at a well-known Department Store and was going to purchase some electronics. The cleak said, “You’ll save $75 if you open a credit card with us today.” Sounded good to me. I entered my information on the keypad, got the discount, and was on my way. The card never came, and I had to call to have a new one sent. It finally came, but who knows? Maybe applying for credit cards in a store on a keypad is not wise.

So what can you do to protect yourself.

1. Change your passwords quarterly.

2. Check your credit reports in full detail on a quarterly basis.

3. Keep your credit cards safe.

4. Don’t allow websites to “remember” your card information.

5. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

6. Review your credit card bill monthly and report anything suspicious.

7. My credit card company told me to NOT purchase anything on-line through Face-book and Instagram (something I also did which may be the culprit and by-the-way, I never got the product).

I hope you never have to experience this, but if you do, be mindful that it’s a process that takes some time to go through the recovery plan.


The Attitude Adjuster

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