An article yesterday in the Lone Star Times describes how quickly Identity Theft can change your life. While we have some clients who fight a long and tiring battle with one account being opened every few months, this article’s account is frightening for how fast the thieves moved to open numerous accounts over a several day period.
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Here is an exceprt:
On Saturday I received a “Circuit City/Visa” card in the mail. I had not applied for this card. It was in my name only. I contacted the company and an online application was approved on April 29. We had a credit report pulled and saw that 7 inquiries had been made on April 29 and May 1.
After many hours on the phone on Monday, this is what I have found out:
We are 99% positive that the fraud began with Macy’s (the account I opened at the cash register in February to get the discount). That is the only existing account that was tapped into. I am passing the word on to as many people as possible – it is not a good idea to apply for a card at the cash register. Apparently the information was sold by someone in the Macy’s system.
I have contacted the 7 companies that ran a credit check on us beginning April 29 through May 1. Lowe’s opened an account and $6000 was charged. Two attempts at Sam’s Club in Oklahoma City were made to get a Sam’s Discover card, using “REDACTED.” This was denied because of phone number discrepancy. Dillards turned down an online application because of “missing information.” Circuit City/Visa approved an online application and over $5000 has been charged. Best Buy declined an online application because the person failed to answer all the questions. Radio Shack declined the online application due to missing information. The Macy’s existing account was charged $2400 in gift cards in Birmingham, Alabama and $160 in the junior department also.
And now for the big one – online application for The Home Depot’s card was accepted with a $15,000 credit limit. Phone calls were made after the account approved – the person was wanting to change the telephone number used on the application. This alerted the fraud department and the fraud department put a “Picture ID” required on the account. On May 1, in Midwest, Oklahoma a picture ID was presented with all my information and $7,000 in gift cards was charged. On May 2, the same thing happened in Edmund, Oklahoma for a total of $14,000.
We are not suggesting that we all become paranoid but we do need to be cautious and if we find out Identity Theft has occurred, take immediate action to dispute the fraudulent accounts and to alert the credit bureaus of the fraud.