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Dealing with identity theft

Just got a call from Amex confirming my new credit card. Hmm... I can't remember opening a new credit card... Why would I need another American Express card anyway? Something fishy here... Then the rep mentions that the person's address is in Miami, which threw up a red flag since my address on file with them is in New York. Say what you want about credit card companies, but at least they seem to be on the ball these days about flagging these things quickly.

What a PITA though. I'm going to document here the steps I go through to deal with this, hopefully it will be helpful to someone else.

I'm starting with notifying the credit agencies:

* Equifax: 1-800-685-1111; www.equifax.com
* Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742); www.experian.com
* TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800; www.transunion.com

That seems like the easy part. More soon.

Okay, that wasn't so bad. A

Okay, that wasn't so bad. A little time on hold, but all-in-all pretty painless. Getting my free credit reports from them now. Will have to see how bad this looks. Hoping for the best.

Hmm, I have to close a bunch

Hmm, I have to close a bunch of accounts, which is easy enough. But now that I have a fraud alert set it turns out that I need my social security card (the actual physical thing) to open the accounts. I have no idea where that is... and can't believe they actually want that flimsy thing anyway. Has anyone ever dealt with this? Is it hard to get a replacement?

Ahh, well, to answer my last

Ahh, well, to answer my last questions, it's not hard to get a replacement... but yes, as you might imagine, it takes a lot of waiting in line. I went downtown to the federal building to get my replacement SS card today and spent the better part of 4 hours waiting around in various lines. It's done though and I should have the new card any day now. Then I can start getting on with re-opening my new accounts. Not sure if there's anything else I need to worry about here...

Sorry to hear about your

Sorry to hear about your recent trouble. No question about it, identity theft is a total PITA. As I noted elsewhere, that credit fraud flag you put on file with the credit agencies is going to make opening new accounts annoying for you for years (5 to be exact)... nothing you can do about it though, you gotta do it.

The other thing you need to watch out for beyond all your credit cards is people taking out mortgages and car loans, etc. The credit agencies should be able to help you with that.

Finally, you should make sure to change all your passwords. You never know what info somebody got and they could log into your online accounts and transfer money. It seems unlikely in your case, but it's always better to be safe...

the fraud alert really works,

the fraud alert really works, and you only need to add it one agency. I got nailed a few years ago. Somehow they added their name to my credit card (homedepot and loewes which was used for over a year).

One thing I also learned you need to filed a police report. I though the Credit card company would do this.
They charge $5k on my Homedepot card, good news the police review the tapes, and got the person.

It's very important to add a security word to your account. Lowes would not add one, so I cancel the card.

If you want to help your credit card company, you should always inform them if you are making a large purchase, going out of state/county or purchasing something out of the norm.

P.S. Someone just try to use our card, Credit card call us (based on location being used), we now have a new card.

@robert_15 These are great

@robert_15

These are great tips! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you, but I'm glad to hear the police were able to catch them!

Kelley
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