How to deal with credit card identity theft?

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financial.freedom
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How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:25 pm

Chase called me and said that someone used my name, address, telephone number, and social security number to apply for a credit card. I told them I did not apply for the card, so they placed a "fraud alert" on my file at Chase. Then I called TransUnion and had them place a 90-day fraud alert on my credit accounts. I think the next step is to check all of my accounts and print out a credit report to look for fraudulent activity. Any other advice?

The fact that they obtained my social security number is what concerns me the most.

Please help, any advice appreciated.

neilpilot
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by neilpilot » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:26 pm

Why limit the alert to only one of the credit agencies?

Rupert
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Rupert » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:34 pm

Use the identity theft resources at the Federal Trade Commission website, ftc.gov. It's a very helpful website. You also need to report this to your local police and obtain a copy of the police report. The police report will come in handy when dealing with the credit bureaus.

Because the thieves have your social security number, a fraud alert is not enough. You need to freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). Your social security number has likely been sold repeatedly on the internet, and it will continue to be sold over and over again potentially forever. So a permanent credit freeze is necessary. You can unfreeze it temporarily when you need to apply for credit yourself.

As for your credit reports, yes, you need to see each one and dispute each incorrect/fraudulent item on the reports, including incorrect demographic information. If you pull up each report online, there's a way to dispute fraudulent items by clicking a link, which initiates an investigation by the credit bureau into that particular item.

Sorry this happened to you. Beware that it will take months to clear up. You can't fix this overnight.

Rupert
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Rupert » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:35 pm

neilpilot wrote:Why limit the alert to only one of the credit agencies?
When you create a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau has to notify the other two bureaus. This only applies to fraud alerts though, not credit freezes.

Jackson12
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:12 pm

financial.freedom wrote:Chase called me and said that someone used my name, address, telephone number, and social security number to apply for a credit card. I told them I did not apply for the card, so they placed a "fraud alert" on my file at Chase. Then I called TransUnion and had them place a 90-day fraud alert on my credit accounts. I think the next step is to check all of my accounts and print out a credit report to look for fraudulent activity. Any other advice?

The fact that they obtained my social security number is what concerns me the most.

Please help, any advice appreciated.
There are many ways for someone to see and pass along a Social Security number. They require them at our local bureau of motor vehicles, on many medical forms, etc. if there is any fool-proof way to prevent this, I'd love to know it.

I am so sorry you are going through this.

In this day and age, I don't know why people still have regular mailboxes. All along our street, I see people putting mail into their mailboxes- or taking out mail they've received.

It seems so easy for a crook to steal mail containing sensitive info.

And Yet people blindly trust in the same mail system they've always used...except those who use post office boxes.

For those who prefer home delivery, there are metal security mailboxes out there with anti "fishing" protections...ones that would also send far more than a shiver down the spine of any prankster trying to knock off the box with a baseball bat.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by JDCarpenter » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:18 pm

The same thing happened to me last fall--and we had no account with Chase.

I called them upon receiving their letter; they closed the account and noted the activity; apparently they contacted the credit agencies as well.

I haven't even thought about it since then, except when I opened a Chase Card sapphire reserve card and a BoA HELOC--both times had to jump through a couple more hoops because of the alert.

Basically, I haven't worried about it. Socials are everywhere, so it isn't as if someone has your truly personal information.
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:31 pm

Put a freeze on your credit reporting at all three bureaus. It will keep anyone from opening a new credit card account. I know because we froze our accounts, then I ran afoul of that when I tried later to open a new legitimate credit card after forgetting about the freeze. I had to get with each bureau and put in a temporary lift of the freeze before the application for the new card would go through.
Anybody know why there's a 20-pound frozen turkey up in the light grid?

mhalley
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by mhalley » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:36 pm

Concur with credit freeze, see Clark's guide.

http://clark.com/personal-finance-credi ... haw-guide/

financial.freedom
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:04 pm

Thank you for the replies. Apparently, Chase recognized it because the scammer tried having the new credit card mailed to a different address than my home address.

I placed a 90-day fraud alert at TransUnion, and they confirmed that it will be across the three (experian, equifax included). I checked my credit reports. Had to call Chase back to unlock my online account access (35 minute, painful phone call).

...called the police department, and they told me I cannot file a report of identity theft since so far no money was taken and no credit charges went through.

Chase told me the fraud alert is enough, and that a credit freeze is unnecessary. But I will look into it some more. The problem with a credit freeze is the hassle factor for me when I need credit down the road. Have to call all three credit agencies, have to worry about lead time from the time I call them to the time the freeze is lifted, probably a few other hoops.

Will also call the social security administration.

financial.freedom
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:09 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:The same thing happened to me last fall--and we had no account with Chase.

I called them upon receiving their letter; they closed the account and noted the activity; apparently they contacted the credit agencies as well.

I haven't even thought about it since then, except when I opened a Chase Card sapphire reserve card and a BoA HELOC--both times had to jump through a couple more hoops because of the alert.

Basically, I haven't worried about it. Socials are everywhere, so it isn't as if someone has your truly personal information.
This makes me feel a little better, will hope for the same. Thank you!

aredhel
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by aredhel » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:11 pm

financial.freedom wrote:Chase told me the fraud alert is enough, and that a credit freeze is unnecessary. But I will look into it some more. The problem with a credit freeze is the hassle factor for me when I need credit down the road. Have to call all three credit agencies, have to worry about lead time from the time I call them to the time the freeze is lifted, probably a few other hoops.
The hassle factor isn't bad at all, as long as you have the PIN numbers you need to lift the freeze. You can ask the bank or credit card company which agency they're going to want to check before you apply, so you'll know which freeze to temporarily lift, or you can temporarily lift all three and then apply. The freezes can be lifted either temporarily or permanently, and you get to specify when and for how long each freeze is lifted if you want to lift them temprarily. Some of the agencies will also allow you to get a single-use PIN that you can pass along to the bank or credit card company that needs to check your credit. And you can do this online.

The only downside is that in some states you'll be charged a small fee to lift a freeze. But that fee is nothing compared to what you could end up paying if an identity thief opens up lines of credit or an auto loan or (gulp) a mortgage under your name!

anoop
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by anoop » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:21 pm

Jackson12 wrote: There are many ways for someone to see and pass along a Social Security number. They require them at our local bureau of motor vehicles, on many medical forms, etc. if there is any fool-proof way to prevent this, I'd love to know it.
I never fill out the SSN if it's not required. Medical folks do NOT need it, even though they always have a place for it on the form. Kinda sad.

Also, the more times you take advantage of "special offers" whether it be credit card applications, loan applications, new bank accounts, cell phone plans, etc. which require the SSN, the greater the probability it will be stolen. I have letters about 4 or 5 financial institutions saying they got hacked and as compensation they offered to sign me up for credit monitoring for a year.

OP,

While I have not had to use it, you could try this:
https://www.identitytheft.gov/

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Parthenon
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Parthenon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:52 pm

I just traveled this road over the Christmas holidays. In addition to what you have done you may want to file a Form 14039 with the IRS to make them aware that you have experienced identity theft. You can get it at the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf

Ed
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investingdad
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by investingdad » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:18 am

I shared my experiences when a fraudulent tax return was filed in our name last year.

I filed a police report with no issue even though there was no financial loss.

I froze everything, no other issues that I can see as of right now.

financial.freedom
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by financial.freedom » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:45 pm

More bad news: this morning I had a fraud alert from Citibank (a different bank) that someone had used my double cash Citi credit card. They attempted three purchases, only one went through and was on Apple Itunes. Citibank said I will not be charged and is sending me a new credit card in the mail.

Since now I have fraudulent charges, the local police department was willing to file a report.

I also set up the Citi double cash card to send me a text message for every single charge.

A family member suggested using Lifelock, but that seems expensive (about $30 per month). Do any BH have thoughts on Lifelock?

arsenalfan
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by arsenalfan » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:32 pm

. I would assume there are more accounts out there in your name. Only way to find out:

1. Pull the 3 credit reports from annualcreditreport.com (the free site)
2. Look at all the recent pulls/new credit lines.
3. Call all of them. Even just the pulls - know someone who saw TMobile and ATT pulls and called = $4k and $5k of electronics charged.
4. Start the fraud process at those accounts (obviously), police report, etc.
5. Freeze the credit of the victim, and/or everyone in the family per the Howard Clark report. Your call on the inconvenience of freezes/unfreezes vs having all your info out there for someone to use.
6. Consider IRS return fraud reporting as well - TurboTax asks about this, and enrolls you in the IRS PIN process, so fraudulent refunds aren't issued in your name.

I think credit alerts are useless. "Hi, just emailing you that the horse just left the barn..."

TravelGeek
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:21 pm

financial.freedom wrote:
A family member suggested using Lifelock, but that seems expensive (about $30 per month). Do any BH have thoughts on Lifelock?
See viewtopic.php?t=168537

Based on what I have read about them, I would not sign up for their services.

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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:55 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
financial.freedom wrote:
A family member suggested using Lifelock, but that seems expensive (about $30 per month). Do any BH have thoughts on Lifelock?
See viewtopic.php?t=168537

Based on what I have read about them, I would not sign up for their services.
Agreed, LifeLock is not worth it. Credit freezes accomplish most of the same goals at a far cheaper price. So go with the credit freezes and ignore LifeLock.

likegarden
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by likegarden » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:31 pm

In respect to writing Social Security numbers on medical forms, I no longer write my SS # anywhere.
I recently got caught too with having credit freezes at all 3 agencies and applying for a new credit card which then was rejected.

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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by gkaplan » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:08 pm

likegarden wrote:In respect to writing Social Security numbers on medical forms, I no longer write my SS # anywhere.
I recently got caught too with having credit freezes at all 3 agencies and applying for a new credit card which then was rejected.
I had a dentist appointment last Monday morning. This was with a dentist who had bought the practice of my old dentist. When I came in, the receptionist provided me with a bunch of forms to fill out. One of them required my Social Security number. I began to write the first several numbers of the form, then thought better of it and scratched out the numbers. The receptionist or whoever reviewed the forms never questioned me about this.
Gordon

Rupert
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Rupert » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:35 am

financial.freedom wrote:
Chase told me the fraud alert is enough, and that a credit freeze is unnecessary. But I will look into it some more. The problem with a credit freeze is the hassle factor for me when I need credit down the road. Have to call all three credit agencies, have to worry about lead time from the time I call them to the time the freeze is lifted, probably a few other hoops.
Chase gave you bad advice. A fraud alert is insufficient when your social security number has been compromised because a fraud alert does not stop people from opening new credit lines in your name. All a fraud alert does is warn the creditor checking your credit that your identity has been stolen. It does not stop an unscrupulous creditor from extending credit to the applicant anyway. And think about what might have motivated Chase to give you that advice. Perhaps people with frozen credit apply for less credit because they have to unfreeze their credit first? Perhaps banks make a little money selling credit monitoring services to people?

And it's not a big deal to temporarily unfreeze your credit. You can do it on-line using the pin numbers issued to you by each credit bureau. The only hassle, which is minor, is keeping up with the pin numbers.

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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Sandi_k » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:36 pm

Having been through this recently, here is my summary.

1) Agree that filing fraud alerts is useful - if anyone comes to collect, you can point to them as having done due diligence, and getting a police report on file.

2) Also agree that it's not enough. Both DH and I have frozen our credit file with all three agencies. Easy to do ONLINE, and $10 each freeze in our state.

3) In regards to the inconvenience of unfreezing them: we refinanced in October. The morning that we made the online app, I unfroze all 6 lines ($60) for the 30 day maximum, using our accounts and PINs. When I logged on to do the online application for the mortgage, the credit inquiry happened in real time - and our credit reports were imported into our application. I did go through and edit a little, as one credit line (a car loan) had recently been paid off entirely, which was not yet reflected on the credit report.

The credit freeze then automatically re-engaged after 30 days. I did not have to pay again.

To my mind, having freezes on your credit reports is a requirement for any financially-sound life these days. Not having them locked down is dangerous. And if we had kids too, I'd make sure their credit files were locked as well.

Rupert
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Re: How to deal with credit card identity theft?

Post by Rupert » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:29 pm

Note that if you've been the victim of identity theft, the credit bureaus cannot charge you to freeze and unfreeze your credit. That's why it's so important to get a police report. A report filed with the Federal Trade Commission may also suffice (I'm not 100% sure about that). The credit bureaus typically require you to send them a copy of a police report in order to qualify for the free freeze/unfreeze.

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