Last December 2006.....3 days before Christmas... I became the victim of Identity Theft. I actually found out about it before the bank did.
I am constantly looking at my bank account balances and just to make sure that when I write checks.... I do not have to go into overdraft mode. At first I really didn't think much about it until I started to see all these overdraft charges and also noticed all these very large withdrawals of cash from our bank account. When I mean large...I mean thousands of dollars just taken from our savings and checking accounts.
It was late that night and I was a bit tired so I really did not want to deal with it at that time and figured I would go to the bank in the morning and see if I was just dreaming...well I wasn't. It was pretty obvious that something wasn't right. It was the weekend before the holiday and all the banks were going to be closed after Saturday. That weekend we were having a large party and I needed to purchase a few hundred dollars worth of items and I needed cash for that and for some miscellaneous things as well. I needed to act fast.
My bank, police, federal,state law officials immediately investigated this and we did get all our money back.
During the investigation I was able to see those stolen checks nd the signatures weren't even close. That is the way they do it, they steal from Peter to pay Paul.
THIS IS NOT JUST A LOCAL PROBLEM...IT IS WORLD WIDE.
Here is a list of some important things that you will need to do if you become a victim.
- Immediately Close the old accounts
- Open a new account
- Order new checks
- Calling all your creditors
- Call your credit unions to place alarms on your identity
- File complaints with the Federal Trade commission(FTC)
Here is what my bank does before or after the theft occurs:
- Immediately informs customers of suspicious activity they may identify often before the loss may have occurred
- Employing industry leaders who can promptly identify and respond to emerging forms of on-line fraud and identity theft
- Reaching out to customers and providing education on emerging threats
- Using fraud prevention software programs
- Reviewing questionable transactions and reaching out to customers to verify activity
- Working to prevent criminals from "taking over" legitimate accounts
My bank has a loss Management department which will refer the customer to their Identity Theft Assistance Center(ITAC)
- Place a 90-day Identity Theft Fraud Alert on all credit bureaus
- Review credit bureau reports to identify additional fraudulent accounts, inquiries and activities
- Notify financial institutions that own disputed accounts or that have made credit inquiries without the customer's knowledge
- Work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute criminals
Assist customer's in regaining financial identity
You should know how your credit looks by viewing your credit report at least once a year to ensure information is correct and free of fraudulent activity.
The top three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They share your credit information with lenders and creditors whenever you apply for credit.
A credit report includes four basic types of information:
Personal information-Employment and address history, name, birth date, and Social Security Number.
Payment history-A list of the accounts you have with different creditors, showing how much credit they extended to you and whether or not you have paid on time.
Inquiries-A record of the lenders and creditors that have requested your credit history.
Public record information-Events that are a matter of public record, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, or tax liens.
Addtional links provided by most banks:
- Equifax: (800) 525-6285
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
Federal Trade Commission: If you believe you were a victim-please call the FTC hotline at 877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338) to speak with a trained identity theft counselor. Or submit a complaint to the FTC's secure online database.
Postal Inspection Service at your local post office.
Social Security Fraud Hotline: If you suspect someone is using your Social Security Number for fraudulent purposes, call (800) 269-0271.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):If you believe someone is trying to get a driver's license or identification card using your name and information, contact your local DMV at http://www.dmv.org/.
Updates on Email Hoaxes: For the latest information on email hoaxes visit Symantec†.
Identity Guard® CreditProtectX3SM Identity Guard® CreditProtectX3SM is a service provided by Intersections Inc., that helps protect you against fraud or identity theft.
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