Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

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goaties
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Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by goaties » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 am

Since it's fairly obvious that nothing can/will be done to protect us against this endless stream of breaches and hackings of our personal info, I've begun to wonder if there are actions we can take to protect ourselves. These may be difficult to implement, but for those who have trouble sleeping at night, perhaps well worth the effort.

One idea: change your name. Since we can probably safely conclude that our SSN, DOB, most recent addresses, mother's maiden (on Ancestry.com), and so on are well known to criminals now, perhaps the only thing we can change is our name! I'd be interested to know--perhaps from people who changed their name due to marriage, gender transition, etc.--how difficult is it?

And, finally, would this be an effective strategy? Discuss.

rkhusky
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by rkhusky » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:06 am

Frankly, I think it would be better if companies stop relying on a SS number and name to extend credit. If there are enough back charges, I expect that will eventually happen.

goaties
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by goaties » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:09 am

rkhusky wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:06 am
Frankly, I think it would be better if companies stop relying on a SS number and name to extend credit. If there are enough back charges, I expect that will eventually happen.
Agreed. The current system was never "designed". But what can we do to take the power back, ourselves?

LarryAllen
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by LarryAllen » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:13 am

I think changing your name to protected against identity theft is pretty extreme but may help. However, will take a lot of time to get everything organized. I suggested, on a thread yesterday, putting assets into a trust with a tax ID number. That seems like a way of protecting bank accounts better. We need to get away from social security numbers, have two-factor authentication everywhere, and other such steps.

rkhusky
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by rkhusky » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:13 am

goaties wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:09 am
rkhusky wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:06 am
Frankly, I think it would be better if companies stop relying on a SS number and name to extend credit. If there are enough back charges, I expect that will eventually happen.
Agreed. The current system was never "designed". But what can we do to take the power back, ourselves?
Don't pay for any charges assessed due to ID theft. Require the credit reporting agencies to prove negative reporting, and sue them if they won't remove information they can't prove.

LarryAllen
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by LarryAllen » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:27 am

rkhusky wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:13 am
goaties wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:09 am
rkhusky wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:06 am
Frankly, I think it would be better if companies stop relying on a SS number and name to extend credit. If there are enough back charges, I expect that will eventually happen.
Agreed. The current system was never "designed". But what can we do to take the power back, ourselves?
Don't pay for any charges assessed due to ID theft. Require the credit reporting agencies to prove negative reporting, and sue them if they won't remove information they can't prove.
It costs money to sue even if you are right.

rkhusky
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by rkhusky » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:32 am

LarryAllen wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:27 am
It costs money to sue even if you are right.
True. I would start with complaints with the BBB, state attorney general, FTC, etc before suing. Also look at putting a note in the credit file, explaining that the agency was unable to prove the negative marks. Also look at contacting your local federal representative. Then look for cheaper options for suing (perhaps small claims court?).

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Pajamas
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by Pajamas » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:49 am

How would changing your name help? That would be a matter of public record. It would be no different than moving and changing your address.

Have you Googled yourself to find out what information is available from random websites? At best, your new name would show up as someone living at the same address as your old name.

The fact is that it is no longer possible to completely control the public availability of any of your demographic information, including your Social Security number. All you can do is to try to control how it is actually used, which is very difficult, and to try to keep your passwords and accounts safe.

Rupert
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:20 pm

The aggregators would link the new you to the old you in about 5 minutes. So changing your name is pointless. Plus in most jurisdictions you have to petition a court for a name change, usually probate court. Sometimes a hearing is required, a public hearing. The order granting the name change is a public document. The court petition can cost you hundreds of dollars to file, and the process of changing the name on all your accounts and documents is a tremendous hassle, e.g., you have to contact Social Security to get a new card, the DMV to get a new drivers license, the State Dept to get a new passport, change the name on all your existing accounts and typically send all those entities certified copies of the order granting the name change to get it done. It can be quite expensive when you add it all up. Just ask some of the women in your life who have changed their names after getting married, although they at least don't have to petition the probate court and can use a certified marriage license as proof of name change. It's still a PITA.

goaties
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by goaties » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:53 pm

LarryAllen wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:13 am
I suggested, on a thread yesterday, putting assets into a trust with a tax ID number. That seems like a way of protecting bank accounts better. We need to get away from social security numbers, have two-factor authentication everywhere, and other such steps.
Ah, now that's the kind of thinking I was driving at. I don't know much about trusts, but I think I'm about to learn.... Basically, I'm just wondering if there is a way to create a new entity, not yet known to hackers and credit agencies and aggregators and so on. A trust might just be a solution to protect savings and investments.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:05 am

goaties wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 am
Since it's fairly obvious that nothing can/will be done to protect us against this endless stream of breaches and hackings of our personal info, I've begun to wonder if there are actions we can take to protect ourselves. These may be difficult to implement, but for those who have trouble sleeping at night, perhaps well worth the effort.

One idea: change your name. Since we can probably safely conclude that our SSN, DOB, most recent addresses, mother's maiden (on Ancestry.com), and so on are well known to criminals now, perhaps the only thing we can change is our name! I'd be interested to know--perhaps from people who changed their name due to marriage, gender transition, etc.--how difficult is it?

And, finally, would this be an effective strategy? Discuss.
That will work for a time. Eventually your new name will make its way to your credit report, and hackers will get that in due course.

Ruger
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by Ruger » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:42 am

goaties wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 am

I'd be interested to know--perhaps from people who changed their name, how difficult is it?
It's easy. I changed mine 20 years ago. Bought a legal form from a stationary store, filled it out, called the courthouse and made an appointment to see the judge. It ended up I didn't even need to see him, his secretary came in and took the form to have him sign. Notice of the name change was posted in the courthouse for a week in case anyone wanted to challenge it. After receiving the official name change letter, all I had to do was contact credit card companies, social security, etc.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:42 am

goaties wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 am
Since it's fairly obvious that nothing can/will be done to protect us against this endless stream of breaches and hackings of our personal info, I've begun to wonder if there are actions we can take to protect ourselves. These may be difficult to implement, but for those who have trouble sleeping at night, perhaps well worth the effort.

One idea: change your name. Since we can probably safely conclude that our SSN, DOB, most recent addresses, mother's maiden (on Ancestry.com), and so on are well known to criminals now, perhaps the only thing we can change is our name! I'd be interested to know--perhaps from people who changed their name due to marriage, gender transition, etc.--how difficult is it?

And, finally, would this be an effective strategy? Discuss.
If your identity is stolen you will eventually be able to restore it, after spending some money, time, and energy. The more you do in terms of prevention, e.g., create credit freezes, use two-factor authentication, protect your files--the smaller the impact of the identity theft would be.

If you do the name change, you would have to apply about the same amount of time and energy as with cleaning up after an ID theft. The actual change may be easy, but your old employment life, financial life, medical life, and other lives will be haunting you for a long time.

And right after you go through the pain of the name change, your new data can be stolen in the next big breach.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

david_that_guy
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by david_that_guy » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:56 am

To avoid identity theft, I plan to change my name, birth date, social security number, and address every six months.

SimonJester
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by SimonJester » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:05 am

david_that_guy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:56 am
To avoid identity theft, I plan to change my name, birth date, social security number, and address every six months.
Don't forget Drivers license, you will need to turn your old one in every six months, then re take the written and driving test for a new number...

Tis but a small price to pay
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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VictoriaF
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:09 am

david_that_guy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:56 am
To avoid identity theft, I plan to change my name, birth date, social security number, and address every six months.
Why not every three months?

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

david_that_guy
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Re: Name Change as a way to Protect Against Identity Theft

Post by david_that_guy » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:44 am

I think every 3 months is too inconvenient. :D

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