ID Theft - If you think this can't happen to you, then you should take a look at this post

I never found out how these crooks got all my information. Did you find out how they got access using you debt card.
Data Breach. You should ALWAYS freeze your credit accounts back when you saw they were creating credit card accounts and loans. You freeze those and when they attempt to access or create a credit card, they won't be able to get anywhere.
I know exactly who is responsible. I tell the parties who have been fleeced what his name is, and a few times I have had to send them statements from my employer showing the hours I was clocked in when the offenses occured, eliminating me geographically.

Even though I know his full name, I don't know his address, and it presently is New Orleans, or at least it was. I have not had any issues for over 10 years, so he could be dead for all I know. The thing is, even knowing who is responsible won't accomplish anything for you if that person is known to not have a fixed address. All of these offenses have taken place in different states. Not having a drivers license he gives them all my personal information and looks enough like me that he can pass for my DL photo. I guess that is why he stole my license after I lost my wallet.

It is up to each one of us to lock up our personal data, and put roadblocks in the way of someone using it.
That's a good lead-in to what I wanted to discuss, keeping personal data personal. Before widespread use of the Internet, it was pretty easy to secure personal data. You kept track of your wallet, kept personal stuff locked up. Today the benefits of e-commerce requires that we share personal data with people and businesses that we never would do so in years past. Today it is a lot harder to keep your personal data locked up from those that would harm us. Here are some tips I got from the legal firm that help me get my identity back.
  • Secure what needs to be secured such as your birth date, social security number, driver's license number, bank account numbers, investment account numbers, account balances, credit card and debit card information, Medicare Id or other insurance ids, insurance policy numbers, social security numbers of your children, passport numbers, Visa File numbers and other data that can be accepted as identification. Unless there is a reason you need to hide yourself from others, you do not need to secure names, addresses, and phone numbers, and email addresses. These data items as well spouse names, previous addresses, and criminal records, are commonly available from online databases
  • Any web site you sign into that stores abt of the above data needing security should be treated as a site needing added security. That added security should include:
    • Complex passwords at least 8 characters, upper and lower case letters, numbers and at least 1 special character.
    • Use of two factor authentication at sign on where available.
    • Change of passwords at least once a year.
    • Care taken not to use the same password for multiple sites.
    • Use of a password manager unless you have only a few sites needing added security. It will make your access more secure as well as saving you a lot of time.
  • Freeze your credit in all 3 major credit bureaus, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. It is easy to setup and you can freeze and unfreeze your credit in minutes. Keep your credit frozen unless there is a need to unfreeze it.
  • Visit the security area of your financial web sites.
    • Turn on two factor authentication.
    • Add alerts that will notify you of unusual activity.
    • Select text as the notification method because you need to know if action is needed immediately. If action is needed it needs to be taken now not in weeks or days but right away. Once your personal data is in the hands of professionals, you would not believe how fast they can open a dozen credit card accounts, and bank accounts in your name.
  • Plan on checking all bank accounts at least once a week and your investment accounts at least once a month. Many financial institutions will free you from any liability due to fraudulent lost if you follow a few simple rules. Invariably, one of those rules is periodic checking your account. If you totally ignore your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and investment accounts, you could lose everything.
  • Finally, use common sense rules that apply to such things as securing credit and debit cards, checkbooks, bank, retirement, and investment statements, list of access passwords, cash and other valuables. Although a safe deposit box is the most secure, it's not very practical for items that are updated often. You might consider a hidden safe or lockbox.

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