ID Theft – 7 Unauthorized Credit Cards Opened In My Name

identity theft

I recently became one of the 9 million people to become victim to identity theft this year in the United States. Much of what I have learned in the last few weeks I share to spark outrage at what is becoming more and more common and also to share what you can and should be doing to protect yourself.

As for me, I did everything I was supposed to do. I never give any personal information unsolicited and am wary of the tons of phishing e-mails I receive every day. I drop my mail in a locked box and tend to receive all of my statements electronically (avoiding personal info being sent through the mail). I shred anything I own or receive with personal information and I check my banking and credi


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16 Responses to ID Theft – 7 Unauthorized Credit Cards Opened In My Name

  1. dan says:

    People don’t realize how easy it is to get this information. Even if you are careful, it just takes one person at one institution to be lazy to expose your identity. That is why it is essential to stay on top of anything strange happening in your credit reports. Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them, and that is what makes it so easy for identity thieves.

  2. Ginger says:

    Most people don’t know very much about identity theft and how at risk they truly are. What they do know is that they don’t know what they would do about it when it happens to them. Miss Newton obviously doesn’t know about Pre-Paid Legal Services and their Identity Theft Shield. I have peace of mind about this issue because I have the protection they supply to their clients.

  3. vsjhoc says:

    What a lousy — although not unusual — experience.

    The state listing about credit freezes is out of date, although I haven’t found a current one. Freezes are now available in the District of Columbia.

    BTW, the 3 credit bureaus do not share information, so your reports will always be different. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of all 3 credit reports.

  4. Karen says:

    I was a victim of identity theft, over 15 years ago when no one knew what it was. The most important piece of advice I can give you – get everything in writing. The credit card companies may have been nice about closing the fraudulent accounts (they were really nasty to me, but maybe they’re more polite now) but I found that the accounts didn’t always stay closed. I had accounts pop up on my credit report several years after they had supposedly been closed. Thankfully I had asked each company to send me a letter confirming that the accounts had been opened fraudulently and that they were supposed to be closed. I just had to send in a copy of the letter, and the problem was fixed, instead of having to go through the process of “proving” the account was fraudulent all over again.

    My experiences dealing with credit card companies, after my identity was stolen, showed me how important it is to get things in writing. Some of the companies told me one thing on the phone, and then denied it later. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t really count.

  5. Teri says:

    Karen – yes – good point. Things have come a long way. Though I spent a lot of time on the phone, I didn’t face (yet anyway) most of the horror stories you hear about when this was a newer crime. & getting everything in writing is certainly important.

    vsjhoc – yes – I believe the state listing was from 2006. Good point – check with your state anyway in case your state has gotten on board in the last year (or is in the process of allowing credit freezes).

  6. That is quite frightening….at the very least I’ll be examining my free credit report every year!

    I hope they track the person down eventually.


  7. Amy says:

    No kidding–why do I need to hand over my social security number in order to get my teeth cleaned? To be identified by dental records in the event of a tragic death, I guess? But it still seems unnecessary. I always leave that field blank or write “prefer not to answer.” No one has ever questioned this.

    I like the idea of using a dummy birth date and perhaps even a dummy social security number when it’s asked for unnecessarily (though I’m not sure that the ramifications of that might be).

    I’m really glad that you wrote this article. It is important for us to know that ID theft really can happen to anyone, even those of us who understand the issue and think we are doing everything right. Apparently we need to be doing more.

    I think it’s just downright shitty how the credit industry does nothing to stop ID theft and then wants to charge people good money to monitor their own credit. Nonetheless, this is probably what I will end up doing, since the alternative is a lot of stress and wasted time at best and ruined credit and legal battles at worst. Argh. We need to get the political activists all over this issue until the system is changed in such a way that ID theft is no longer so simple and rampant.

    I wish you the best in getting this mess behind you.

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  9. it’s just a scary experience. it actually shows that ANYONE can be a victim. folks, it seems to me that the only method to save your personal information is to become a total paranoid… but that’s the way really…

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  12. Deborah says:

    I just learned last week that someone stole my identity. She opened an account at a national eyeglass store and charged over #1300 in frames. The store was over 100 miles from the city where I live, the phone number she gave the clerk did not even have the same area code….do you think the clerk saw the red flags? The store did not even ask for a second form of ID, only a drivers’ license. (Fake, of course) A sharp eyed clerk at the Capitol One office noticed that the address on a new card application was different than the Capitol One account I already had and took the time out to call me to inquire if I just applied for a new card. That was how I learned someone stole my identity. Since then I got a letter from Sears asking about strange activity on my “new” Sears Master Card (thank God for even that small amount of vigilance). This is a never ending nightmare and I have no idea where it will end. Our local sheriff’s office is very helpful and is working with the fraud departments of Sears and the eye glass store.

  13. TC says:

    What really sucks is that when you go to the SSA to order a replacement card, they mail it to your home. Anything can happen to it on the way to your home. As in the case of my 19 yr old son.

    We requested (in person) a card, and were told to expect it within 2-3 weeks. Well my younger sons came just 5 days later, and the 19 yr olds never did.

    A check with the CB’s showed that attempts were made to open up credit cards. So either someone in the USPS took it, or it dropped on the way to the truck somehow, OR one of my neighbors is a THIEF. SSA ‘assumes’ no liability in the issuance of the cards, YET they could prevent this by issuing them in person.

  14. Jack says:

    I was a recent victim of credit card ID fraud. After much investigation, it turned out to be a friend who took out 4 credit cards in my name and have been using for 5 years without my knowledge. Long story short.
    Can the person be prosecuted by law or is it considered as a civil crime only? A slap in the wrist, etc.

  15. Worried in TN says:

    Here is what I don’t understand.

    If the thief buys something online with the new credit card opened from your info, then the purchase will have to be delivered to an address. When the victim discovers the fraud and the banks track the purchases…. isn’t the delivery location a direct ant trail to the thief?

    Another question. Most stores have cameras recording their registers 24/7. How would the thief not get caught from a cam as soon as the fraud is discovered?

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