Like a crapload of people, I’m a victim of identity theft. I had another post written up with all the details but figured if by chance this guy comes across the site I should probably hold back a bit on that for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a semi conclusion about the thief one day, perhaps post his number (if the one I found is real) and whatever other details I find out about him.1
For now I’ll just write about my experiences with the companies I’ve dealt with in trying to clear this up. Luckily most companies have been pretty cool, they tend to have actual humans that seem to understand context and situations and can respond accordingly. From horror stories I’ve read online I may be lucky, I’m guessing because from what I can tell I seem to have caught on to it pretty early (by chance really).
Meanwhile the credit reporting agencies suck. First the whole free annual credit report thing seems to be fairly limited in terms of security to begin with. Just as easy to steal someone else’s single annual free credit report as it is to open various credit cards! If this happens to you, and you’ll know immediately because the sites will tell you that you already got your free report on xx/xx/xxxx, look for a little “fraud” link somewhere on each agency’s page. It’s a pretty straight forward process to get your report after that. I think there were even extra security questions at that point!2
Except with TransUnion.
Their site was down when I first found out and tried getting my report. Then later when the site was working I found out the only way to get the report was to first register for an account with them.3 That in itself wouldn’t be too horrible, annoying at best really, but the site was still having issues. It died in the last verification step…yet still went through? So uh, hell if I know how their security really is.
And back to that fraudulently accessed free credit report, apparently you can’t do crap about that. Can’t mark it as fraudulent, can’t get any information on who may have accessed it, even an IP address could potentially help! If you manage to reach a human by any chance, they seem to be as dumb as the automated machines, limited to either getting you a copy of your credit report or forwarding you to someone that can sell you their credit monitoring services.
So the moral of the story is to check your credit report. I guess. Just keep on top of your crap.
- There is more information out there but only the cops can get it. No vigilante justice for me :(
- Who needs to security to prevent fraud, we can worry about that crap once it happens!
- Well you can call, as long as they’re open. Not that you’ll get someone fluent in English.
- They sucked so bad I had to make a new rating for them, DOUBLE BERGE. I guess that could be confused as being better than one Berge, but no, more of them is a bad thing.