This is my real life story on how I had my Identity stolen and tips on how to prevent identity theft.
When attending college, I received a couple of credit cards by mail. I figured it was time to start building my credit before I graduate, have a family and settle down. After I graduated I received a real good job that would help me buy a house in a couple of years. Pretty much the standard story of most people living in America. Then the beginning of 3 stressful long years began:
Out of the clear blue in March 2010 I received a letter from Citibank stating I owed them $5200 for a purchase I supposedly made with their financial institution. Since I never made this purchase, this seemed odd to me and I thought it was just a mistake. I called the company to fix the mistake and when they confirmed my social security number, I was shocked that it was definitely mine. I explained that I did not use their credit card and I did not make the purchases and they reassured me that they would take care of it and said not to worry.
About a year later, I began receiving ridiculous amounts of letters saying I owed money to different companies. I supposedly still owed the $5200 but now a collection agency was representing the credit card company. I was only 24 years old at the time and had no clue what to do. I had never heard of credit reports much less of people stealing social security numbers.
A friend suggested I order all three of my credit reports where I found upwards of $55,000 worth of merchandise and services charges that I did not make. I spent hours and hours calling these companies trying to fix the problems. In total I spent over 200 hours over the course of one year trying to fix this problem.
Some companies were great and took care of the problem instantly. The majority didn’t really care because they just wanted to get paid. Then the collections agencies started calling and harassing me day and night. I was at wits end and made the decision to change my phone number and moved.
In October 2011 I applied for a home loan, and thought that all the problems had been solved, and low and behold what did I find? Four accounts still on my credit charged off to me as bad debt that weren’t mine. A credit score in the toilet. I spent an additional 100 hours trying to clear this up. I was in love with this home and I couldn’t get it because of my credit was in the toilet and I couldn’t get this fixed. And guess what, I had money in the bank at the time and owned nobody money according to my records.
I became desperate even went to an attorney to ask for help and after spending $5000 on legal fees, I realized that he couldn’t help me.
I have no clue on how I had my identity stolen whether it was from my mail, internet or credit card charges. The point is, it happened out of nowhere. Believe me you don’t want to go through the pain, expenses, stress and frustration I experienced.
If I only knew then what I know now, all my problems could have been prevented. Hopefully I can help prevent others from dealing with identity theft.
I highly advise you find an identity protection service that offers credit monitoring alerts one that fits you or your family’s needs as quickly as possible. If you haven’t researched these yet, take a minute to visit the StopIdentityFraud.org credit monitoring review page. It will help get you pointed in the right direction.
Insurance companies that offer Identity theft programs
I’ve noticed a lot of insurance companies are trying to make money off the Identity theft business. They are offering identity theft protection programs but not prevention programs. The difference is, they alert you when a problem is happening but don’t’ help prevent it. The ones that are adding prevention are just trying to capitalize on your money. They really don’t specialize in Identity theft but are trying to offer smaller programs that aren’t the quality of the large identity theft programs. I recommend you use a company that specializes in identity theft prevention.
I hope you have learned about identity theft and have realized its best to prevent the problem before it happens. These days it’s so easy to steal an identity so protect yourself now in this new age.