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OT: Identity Theft


eric
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I'm curious to know if anyone has been through identity theft and any best practices or things you'd do differently in this situation based on your knowledge and experience.

 

I received a notification that someone used my credentials (name, SSN, etc.) to file an Unemployment Claim. This was detected by my employer and I have spent a few hours following a bunch of steps to report this, freeze credit bureau reports, micro-manage any and all accounts, etc. It's a numb and vulnerable feeling and it's not clear if this is the tip of the iceberg for further nefarious activity with my personal information, have family members been compromised, etc.

 

Has anyone else dealt with this and have stories to share?

 

Thanks,

Eric

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I haven't personally although I had some credit card fraud but Citibank shut it down at the time once the figured there was fraud, The best way to prevent it from what I was told was to get an account over at the US SS site. Supposedly it can prevent that Eric.

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Don't live in the US, but the best practice I've adopted is to have a service that scans activity in your SS# and send you warnings

 

I have a service in Brazil that scans for activities around my CPF (similar to a SS#), send a monthly report of activities (who checked credit score, application for loans, credit card applications, stuff like that)

There's a gov't service also that gives activities of requests for gov't benefits payoffs, and things like that

 

Hard to be protected, but the sooner you find out the better.

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Unemployment Fraud has reached ludicrous levels. Probably 30% of the people I know received a 1099 for unemployment they didn't apply for. Or they were notified about a claim in their name they didn't make. In my case it was over $3000.

 

Audits are showing that at least 10% and probably much more of unemployment is fraudulent. But the system is so permissive that it's extremely difficult to even prove fraud, and now add on top the system is overloaded with fraud, it's even harder to catch and prove. The numbers are almost unbelievable.

 

ANY SYSTEM THAT CAN BE CHEATED WILL BE CHEATED.

 

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-25/california-unemployment-fraud-11-billion-investigations

 

https://www.freep.com/story/money/business/2021/04/07/unemployment-agency-fraudulent-claims/7127075002/

 

https://www.cnbc.com/select/how-to-protect-yourself-from-unemployment-fraud/

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Has anyone else dealt with this and have stories to share?

 

same thing happened to me, Eric. I can't do a gosh darned thing about it because you can't get anyone on the phone and the offices are closed due to the pandemic. call/text me if you want to discuss this further

:nopity:
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I pay monthly for credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

 

I guess it works since I've received alerts and phone calls whenever there has been a fraudulent attempt to use my information.

 

The main thing is the minimal amount required to keep a bank account open hasn't been stolen yet. :laugh:

 

Seriously, as I mentioned in the Reverb hack thread, it's hard to keep our information safe.

 

I hope that those of you who've been compromised by thieves will recover your identity and resources too. :cool:

PD

 

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I, freeze credit bureau reports,

 

 

Eric

 

to clarify this, it sounds like you have notified the 3 major credit agencies, that no new credit can be issued on your account, or onto your identity with each profile.

 

This doesn't cover the EDD mess, of course.

 

There is 1 more fraud going on, crooks that file liens on your home real estate / trust deed.

 

They use your home equity to borrow against, illegally, but without your knowledge.

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Hi Eric,

 

My identity was stolen back December 2018. My guess is they got my social security number and other data from the big OPM data breach in 2015 (I had a summer internship with a government contractor years earlier that required a secret clearance). I was actually first notified of a credit card being opened in my name by a credit monitoring service that was provided by OPM. At first, I ignored the notification email because previous ones were just the generic "your email has been found on the dark web"!

 

Soon, more credit cards and cellular phone accounts were opened in my name. The first step was to put a credit freeze in place with the three credit bureaus, as it appears you have already done. I then reported my identity theft at https://www.identitytheft.gov/ . I would recommend filing a police report, as you tend to need one to get the accounts closed and the hard pulls off of your credit record (though not sure how this applies to your situation with unemployment fraud) You can do this at your local police department, just call them up and say that you need to report your identity as stolen. I brought copies of all of the various phone bills and credit card applications in to them, though I don't know if they actually needed any of that. The officer wrote up a report within a couple hours (though I don't know what the turnaround time of your local police department will be).

 

After that, it was just spending a million hours on the phone with all of the fraud departments at the various companies where accounts were opened. The good thing (well, not actually "good") is that ID theft is so common these days that every company seems to have a fraud department to resolve these issues. Some companies were still slower to get things done than others, but in about 3 months I had all of the credit inquiries removed from my credit report. Once that was taken care of, my credit rating was back to where it was pre-ID theft.

 

While having my ID stolen was definitely a violating feeling, in the end it wasn't really that big of a deal, aside from just being a big time suck getting things straightened out. My sense is that most people stealing identities view them as disposable, so as soon as that social security number doesn't work to open a new account, they move on to the next one. It's unlikely that they are going to try and totally ruin your life.

 

My recommendation to anyone based in the USA reading this: go and put a credit freeze in place with Experian, Equifax, and Transunion right now. It is free, and once you have it set up, it's easy to remove the freeze temporarily when you're opening a new credit card, getting and auto loan, etc. If I had a credit freeze in place, the ID thief wouldn't have been able to open any accounts even though they had my social security number.

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Pet peeve: I hate the term "identify theft". It's bank fraud. Somebody fooled a bank into thinking they were me. That's between them and the bank, I don't understand why it should be my problem. It's the bank that got fooled, and it's the bank that has the ability to enforce better security practices.

 

Maybe I wasn't careful enough with my passwords or something, but, good grief, who is. Everybody has too many passwords. They're a pain to manage. We've known for years that passwords aren't a great way to authenticate people.

 

Sorry for the digression.

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I read something about this pandemic unemployment benefit fraud last year. Can't remember the details but even scammers from Africa (Nigeria in particular) and India were able to file using stolen American credentials. Not every claim would go through, but the success rate was pretty high.
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I had several people in several states trying to collect unemployment benefits in my name, it was actually pretty amusing because I am the President/CEO of my company, and my other company is a real estate holding LLC with no employees. I just returned the confirmations with "FRAUD" written across them in red, reported these attempts to the government fraud website, and froze my credit accounts. I also use different, small banks for business and personal, where they know me by name and voice. As RichieP points out, identity theft is an entirely different matter than unemployment fraud, and is a real PITA to correct but in the end you can get things straightened out. Another fraud is someone filing for a tax return refund, my profession is a particular target for that, I file electronically and early to reduce the chances.
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I had a similar experience, but it involved attempts to get credit in my name. Sorry for anyone who has to go through it. I see lots of good suggestions here already, so I will just add something simple. Maybe it's obvious, but I had not really thought about it prior to my troubles. You know those security questions that you have when you set up a new account? You designate the correct answers and it does not matter what your answers are, as long as you can remember what responses you registered. For example, a common question asks for your mother's maiden name. It can actually be pretty easiy to find that answer if any of your mother's family has died and there is an online obituary. Make up any aswers that you want. Record the answers somewhere for future reference. Name of your favorite dog? Nord Lead, of course. What city were you born in? Allentown....
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Has anyone else dealt with this and have stories to share?

 

same thing happened to me, Eric. I can't do a gosh darned thing about it because you can't get anyone on the phone and the offices are closed due to the pandemic. call/text me if you want to discuss this further

 

Sorry to hear this happened to both of you Dave and Eric. I wish you both the best in getting these situations resolved.

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Make up any answers that you want. Record the answers somewhere for future reference. Name of your favorite dog? Nord Lead, of course. What city were you born in? Allentown....

Hey, that's not a bad idea!

 

My mother's maiden name was "Yamaha", I grew up in "Roland" and my dog is "Mojo".

 

Actually, although funny, I might forget those -- but when they ask "What was the first ____?" (car, street, pet) etc -- maybe I will enter the "2nd" one. That would be easier for me to remember for all -- just answer for the 2nd one, not the first.

 

One other thought.....

 

It's crimes like this that make me believe that Public Lynchings should make a comeback. Hang 'em, and let the bodies rot until the next perp is hung...

 

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Pet peeve: I hate the term "identify theft". It's bank fraud. Somebody fooled a bank into thinking they were me. That's between them and the bank, I don't understand why it should be my problem. It's the bank that got fooled, and it's the bank that has the ability to enforce better security practices......
Do you want to continue nourishing your pet or are you open to letting it go? Someone is posing as you and utilizing your established credit standing in order to acquire money. That is taking your identity and shopping it around. If someone stole your keyboard and shopped it around finding a buyer or better example pawned it off for some cash at a pawn shop you would definitely think of it as theft and possibly (pawn shop) fraud, right? This involves theft and the object stolen is your name, your SS# or whatever your county's equivalent is if there is one, credit and banking history. That definitely involves you not just the bodies fooled. Staying with the keyboard analogy, even if you were to recover your stolen keyboard because the body which was fooled did all the work taking responsibility for their error there is no guarantee it would come through the process without damage. They don't care about your property like you do unless you don't care about it that much. Let's assume no physical damage to the keyboard, how would you feel about having it stolen even if you had it returned undamaged? Could this take place and not phase you at all?
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A couple of years ago someone used my name and SSN to buy cable TV services in Chicago. I found out about it when a collection agency called me, saying I owed Comcast $800. I called Comcast and told them I don't live anywhere near Chicago, and I get my cable services thru another provider. They asked me to send them my cable bill showing my correct address. When I did they acknowledged I was not responsible for the theft and stopped trying to collect from me.

 

I notified my local police. They said the crime had been committed in Chicago, so it was out of their jurisdiction and there was nothing for them to do. But they would put me in contact with Chicago police, so I could file a report. If memory serves, I sent a letter to the Chicago police, detailing the crime. I never heard from them. As far as I know, no police report of a crime was ever made.

 

I contacted the Social Security office to let them know about the fraudulent use of a SSN. The person I spoke to said the Social Security office is only involved in giving out SSN. They do not track criminal use of SSN and do not prosecute crimes involving SSNs. They did remind me that the SSA does not want SSN used as identification, and I should never reveal my SSN to anyone. So now I tell the bank, the credit card company, and the doctor's office and anyone else who asks "the SSA tells us our SSN are not to be used for identification, and I should not reveal my SSN to anyone." The banks and credit cards are cool about it; the doctors and dentists can be real shits about it (they are getting better about it).

 

So bottom line: other than a couple of communications with Comcast and their collection agency, the theft did not hurt me. No official law or regulatory office I notified did a thing about it.

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They caught people in prison actually filing false unemployment claims. But if you read on Facebook the states labor and industry comments, people are/were bitching left and right about where's my money?

Some systems are on old mainframe. The Gov't ain't perfect and making adjustments. Would people rather walk their ass down to the unemployment agency and get in long lines? Doubt it, but that was reality in the past.

 

As for ID theft, I was a victim after giving blood at work years ago. Back then, you had to write your SS# on paper. The Red Cross had a bad apple opening credit cards in a bunch of states with peoples info.

They caught his ass. I had to put a credit freeze with Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Been ok since. Seems the thieves liked to open credit cards with the big stores on the weekend. Especially Sunday, less likely to be checked I guess.

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Pet peeve: I hate the term "identify theft". It's bank fraud. Somebody fooled a bank into thinking they were me. That's between them and the bank, I don't understand why it should be my problem. It's the bank that got fooled, and it's the bank that has the ability to enforce better security practices......
Do you want to continue nourishing your pet or are you open to letting it go? Someone is posing as you and utilizing your established credit standing in order to acquire money.

 

Don't get me wrong, I understand why in practice I'm the one that gets stuck having to fix the problem.

 

But it shouldn't be that way. It's a broken system.

 

Among other things, we're way too dependent on individuals keeping little bits of information secret. I mean, passwords are bad enough, but social security numbers? A nine-digit number that I can *never* change, and that people are asking me for all the time? (The stupid thing used to be printed on my college ID, and I had no chance to opt out! Fortunately we've gotten better about this, but it's fundamentally a dumb thing to depend on.)

 

We've had better technology, like two-factor authentication, for years. I don't know what it takes to fix it, but I do know that shifting responsibility to individual consumers is the wrong way to go. The parties feeling the pain should be the ones that actually have the ability to change the way things work.

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Among other things, we're way too dependent on individuals keeping little bits of information secret. I mean, passwords are bad enough, but social security numbers? A nine-digit number that I can *never* change, and that people are asking me for all the time? (The stupid thing used to be printed on my college ID, and I had no chance to opt out! Fortunately we've gotten better about this, but it's fundamentally a dumb thing to depend on.)

 

We've had better technology, like two-factor authentication, for years. I don't know what it takes to fix it, but I do know that shifting responsibility to individual consumers is the wrong way to go. The parties feeling the pain should be the ones that actually have the ability to change the way things work.

 

Company IT depts have your info. If they give a personnel report to say the mailroom of people working there for people to deliver stuff to that includes their SS# what good does 2 factor get ya? These are the cracks. I've seen these reports with SS# given to Joe Blow. Unbelievable but true.

 

Quantum computing...

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Our CEO put out two very important guidelines back when I was working in tech during the Equifax breach.

 

1. Open a Social Security account. You can do this at any age (over 18) and this way no one can confiscate your SS number.

 

2. Freeze all credit bureau accounts. It is free, easy, and you can unlock them any time for a period if you need to apply for a loan.

 

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I was a victim of identify theft.

 

My STBX was the instigator.

 

During the separation, I was living away from the house and she refused to forward my mail.

 

So I put a forwarding on my mail without telling her, and the first mail I got was from a credit card company I never heard of requesting additional info for a credit card account.

 

When I phoned the credit card folks, I reported the application as fraudulent and requested a copy of the application.

 

The STBX had intercepted my mail, applied for a credit card in my name with a $13K limit, filled out my name and credentials, signed my signature, and made herself authorized user.

 

If I had not put a forwarding on my mail, I would had never known about that card because they would had been delivered to the house without my knowledge.

 

Damn b!tch tried to open a credit card behind my back, and I went through the roof. I immediately put a freeze and fraud alert on my credit record, so no one can open a credit card or loan without a phone call to me. That put a stop to the fraud, and I told her she was no longer authorized to use my signature. This was in ADDITION to the damage she caused to my credit record by being late on mortgage payments.

 

The post office said she later tried to put a forwarding on mail in my name. The postmaster general I had talked to intercepted, seized the forwarding right in front of her, and ordered the staff not to accept any forwarding from her.

 

That credit card fraud was part of the divorce trial, and it did not sit well with the judge. I literally got to name my terms for the divorce. Once my divorce obligations were over (no kids), I told her to get out of my life and stay the f### out.

 

Ever since then, I watch my bank and credit accounts like a hawk.

 

It takes ten years for late mortgage payments to disappear from your credit record, so I was not able to buy a house until that had passed.

 

And people wonder why I stayed single.

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I was a victim of identify theft.

 

My STBX was the instigator.

 

And people wonder why I stayed single.

As we have discussed previously...not me. :laugh:

 

I totally understand why some folks refuse to sign that contract. :D:cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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