I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

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teelainen
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I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by teelainen »

I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they denied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect.

So apparently, the thief has my SSN, but does not have all of my personal information.

What next steps should I take right now to protect myself?
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pokebowl
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by pokebowl »

I would review the guide and steps outlined here :beer

Also did you call the department store back to confirm? Did you previously do business with this department store and that is how they had your number? Occasionally you will receive calls from scammers purporting to be from a banking institution, government agency or other business and attempt to scare you into confirming information or providing additional information.

When these calls occur, it is usually recommended if you suspect an issue to call back the institution directly from the number listed on their website to ensure the person you spoke to was legitimate.
Last edited by pokebowl on Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jeev1
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Jeev1 »

It would be a good idea to freeze your credit with three agencies. You can go to their websites and do it within minutes (you do have to verify your identity).
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TxAg
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by TxAg »

Freeze your credit asap, but also run a credit report so you can see if there are any negative reports.
Last edited by TxAg on Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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goingup
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by goingup »

teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they denied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect.

So apparently, the thief has my SSN, but does not have all of my personal information.

What next steps should I take right now to protect myself?
Frankly, the call from the dept store sounds like a phishing call. Why would a major dept store have your phone number? What questions did they ask of you and what information did you give them?

I'd be very suspicious if I got a phone call like you describe.
Living Free
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Living Free »

Clark Howard has a good page about it: https://clark.com/personal-finance-cred ... hat-to-do/.
In addition to setting up the credit karma account (which you need to do prior to freezing your credit) and freezing the credit at the 3 bureaus, I've also applied for the IRS pin for the first time this year, to prevent someone from trying to claim my tax refund before I'm able to.

I also agree with above - don't accept calls from unknown numbers due to risk of scams. Just let it go to voicemail. The iPhone has a feature that allows that automatically (unknown numbers go straight to voicemail).
kryptonic
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by kryptonic »

This happened to me around 10 years ago.

I froze my credit and got reports from the three bureaus.

I called up each of the places that they attempted/made purchases from and was able to clear them up directly with the stores/creditors.

The next step was a police report to get anything else cleared from my credit report, but the previous step had already taken care of that.

I left my credit locked for a few years. That was that.... a pain, but resolved with a few hours of effort.
knightrider
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by knightrider »

goingup wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:09 pm Frankly, the call from the dept store sounds like a phishing call. Why would a major dept store have your phone number? What questions did they ask of you and what information did you give them?

I'd be very suspicious if I got a phone call like you describe.
I agree. No store is going to call to personally let them know an application was declined.. I've applied for hundreds of cards and never got a personal call about a denial. It's all automated.
Minority Opinion
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Minority Opinion »

Identitytheft.gov
Freefun
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Freefun »

Steps I took:

1. Check and freeze credit in all 3 agencies.
2. establish fraud alerts in all 3.
3. periodically check them to make sure still frozen.
4. when in doubt contact the agency and ask for confirmation in writing (some of their websites are terrible).
5. File ID theft form and get pin from IRS
6. periodically check credit scores
7. keep redundant brokerages / savings accounts (could be simple as having emergency $ at a different company). This is so you have time to wait if your "plan A" firm gets hacked.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
Trader Joe
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Trader Joe »

goingup wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:09 pm
teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they denied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect.

So apparently, the thief has my SSN, but does not have all of my personal information.

What next steps should I take right now to protect myself?
Frankly, the call from the dept store sounds like a phishing call. Why would a major dept store have your phone number? What questions did they ask of you and what information did you give them?

I'd be very suspicious if I got a phone call like you describe.
Yes, exactly.
Fallible
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Fallible »

teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they sdenied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect. ...
Did they say what the incorrect information was and did they ask you to provide correct info and did you?
"Yes, investing is simple. But it is not easy, for it requires discipline, patience, steadfastness, and that most uncommon of all gifts, common sense." ~Jack Bogle
anoop
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by anoop »

kryptonic wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:16 pm I froze my credit and got reports from the three bureaus.
Freefun wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:28 pm Steps I took:

1. Check and freeze credit in all 3 agencies.
2. establish fraud alerts in all 3.
I assume by "all 3" you mean Equifax, Experian, Transunion.

There are 4 other lesser known ones.

Chex
Innovis
Sagestream
Early Warning (only to check banking history)
Last edited by anoop on Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
diy60
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by diy60 »

anoop wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:50 pm
Freefun wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:28 pm Steps I took:

1. Check and freeze credit in all 3 agencies.
2. establish fraud alerts in all 3.
I assume by "all 3" you mean Equifax, Experian, Transunion.

There are 4 other lesser known ones.

Chex
Innovis
Sagestream
Early Warning (only to check banking history)
Specific to utilities, there is NCTUE as well.
Topic Author
teelainen
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by teelainen »

Fallible wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:46 pm
teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they sdenied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect. ...
Did they say what the incorrect information was and did they ask you to provide correct info and did you?
I asked them what the incorrect information was but they would not tell me.

They did not ask me to provide the correct information, but they did ask me for my email address. They said they wanted to email me some information on how to manage identity theft. I didn't give them my email address.
H-Town
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by H-Town »

teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:02 pm
Fallible wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:46 pm
teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they sdenied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect. ...
Did they say what the incorrect information was and did they ask you to provide correct info and did you?
I asked them what the incorrect information was but they would not tell me.

They did not ask me to provide the correct information, but they did ask me for my email address. They said they wanted to email me some information on how to manage identity theft. I didn't give them my email address.
That's good. Never give out any of your information on the phone. How did they have your number anyways?

I check my credit report every week... But if it makes you feel better, freeze your credit for a while.
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anon_investor
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by anon_investor »

teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:02 pm
Fallible wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:46 pm
teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:57 am I just received a phone call from a major department store telling me that someone tried to open a credit card account with my SSN. Luckily the department store was suspicious and denied the application. The department store said the reason they sdenied the application was because the application contained a few pieces of information that were incorrect. ...
Did they say what the incorrect information was and did they ask you to provide correct info and did you?
I asked them what the incorrect information was but they would not tell me.

They did not ask me to provide the correct information, but they did ask me for my email address. They said they wanted to email me some information on how to manage identity theft. I didn't give them my email address.
That sounds shady...

I would call back that dept store at a number you know is real and make sure they send you something in writing.
flyingaway
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by flyingaway »

This call is obviously suspicious. Why should a department bother to call you if they denied a credit card application?
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

I agree the whole thing smells phishy. The caller did nothing to prove who they were, and other than knowing your name and phone number, they provided no evidence there was any kind of identity theft. For example...
So apparently, the thief has my SSN...
How do know this to be true?
inbox788
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by inbox788 »

teelainen wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:02 pmI asked them what the incorrect information was but they would not tell me.

They did not ask me to provide the correct information, but they did ask me for my email address. They said they wanted to email me some information on how to manage identity theft. I didn't give them my email address.
This is funny. How did they know you were you? You didn't verify who they were? And they didn't verify who you were? How did they get your phone number? If it was from the application, the identity thief wasn't very smart. Should have used a burner phone instead. How did the customer service agent know he wasn't talking to the identity thief using a burner phone?

No one can trust anyone and can't reveal information for fear of providing identity thief more data to work with.

The email they would have sent might have contained malware to steal information, so it's good you didn't bother with it. But is is worth the effort to call to get an email, when they can just spam millions of addresses? Maybe if it's spear phishing.
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celia
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Re: I just became a victim of identity theft - What to do now?

Post by celia »

pokebowl wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:02 pm Also did you call the department store back to confirm? Did you previously do business with this department store and that is how they had your number? Occasionally you will receive calls from scammers purporting to be from a banking institution, government agency or other business and attempt to scare you into confirming information or providing additional information.

When these calls occur, it is usually recommended if you suspect an issue to call back the institution directly from the number listed on their website to ensure the person you spoke to was legitimate.
That was my first reaction too--that maybe the phone call was a scam, so you should start by confirming that.

But rather than looking up their number online, is there a past statement you have from them, that you could check instead? We had a thread over a year ago that talked about someone who had computer problems, so googled something like "computer repair" and got a scammer and then became a victim. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=277964&p=4885000#p4885000
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