Identity Theft Starts in the Home
No, it’s more likely that you have to move back in with your dad and when you’re at work, your step-mom puts all the utilities in your name and then doesn’t pay them for several months.
Your brother or sister gets pulled over for DUI and for some reason she or he gives them your driver’s license or your old expired one and gets booked for DUI and a ticket for the expired license and guess what, she or he looks so much like you the police are fooled into thinking it really is you.
When your sister-in-law and her friend who are a Realtor and a Notary Public suddenly come into money, but eventually you stay home sick and you actually get to the mail first and find out you have a second mortgage that you didn’t know about. Or soon enough you find out that you don’t own your own home anymore. Turns out there was a “For Sale” sign hanging on the Zillow.com website over your head for months. I know these both sound like extreme situations but guess what, I’ve seen both happen.
It can also be done basically as a con-game. The con-artist induces you to extend credit but since you don’t have cash, you end up using your own good credit to do it. Of course, the con-artist never pays you back. That’s not even the worst part of it, the con-artist may not even know that the con-artist is a con-artist. He or she is just down on their luck and you’re the only contact they know, so you’re the only mark. You happen to be the “rich uncle” in the family but unsurprisingly, you also happen to be broke just not as broke as they are . . . at least not until they get done with you.
When you’re helping family, maybe they do help themselves to new credit cards in your name because you’re always at work and they therefore get the mail before you do and suddenly your daughter-in-law has expensive tattoos, long red hair and liposuction in places you didn’t know she knew existed or ever cared about on her sorry behind.
How did she possibly pay for the make-over when your son has a full-time job making good money but they’re saving up, because they want to buy a house. Somehow got this wonderful make-over? Eventually, you’re going to find out that your good credit also has a wonderful make-over, or perhaps a make-under. . . .
Identity Theft Comes From Friends Too
Again I’ve seen this happen a few times. You cosign for the car for your “bestie” who then doesn’t pay for it and in fact disappears with it.
When the bank sues you, they’re going to sue you for the whole balance, you won’t even get the benefit of the repossession reducing the balance that you owe.
Not only does the bank sue you, they report you to the police as having stolen the car or being an accomplice to the theft. I mean, that probably won’t stick, but you won’t really know until you talk to the Public Defender who gets assigned to your case.
If you’re lucky they’ll just garnish your wages until you file a bankruptcy, and even worse, you can’t claim Identity Theft if you signed the loan.
Beware of Fake Collection Calls
Sure your good credit might be destroyed by your boyfriend or girlfriend who memorized your credit card numbers and so you closed the accounts but she or he then called the credit card companies posing as your husband or wife and asked that the accounts be reopened. Yes, I’ve seen this happen too.
But nowadays most of the time, it’s a phone call. Someone calls who knows everything about you, your current unlisted number, your current address and you’re not even on the lease, your addresses for the last fifteen (15) years. The account number of the credit card they are saying you still owe from 2004; even though you haven’t paid on it since 2005 and you filed a bankruptcy in 2007 listing that card. For some reason they’re now threatening to sue you, or send a 1099 to the IRS or to blow your security clearance with your command.
Can they do all that? Of course not. The bankruptcy took care of it. If you didn’t file bankruptcy, then the Statute of Limitations took care of it, unless the card in fact sued you but if they’re not saying they have a judgment, and what they want to do is to send a 1099 to the IRS, then there is no judgment. And for some reason they won’t give you their address, and their company name is a mashup of two legitimate debt collection agencies you find on the Internet. It’s crap, they’re liars and they’re trying to commit fraud and you’re the mark. Hang up and block the number.
My favorites are the fake IRS calls. The IRS doesn’t call you to ask you to pay up. They’ll send you letters telling you to call in or they’ll put a lien on your house. They’ll write to you to tell you to call in or they’ll garnish your wages. They’ll write to you to tell you to call in or you might be arrested. But if the IRS tells you anything like that, it will come to you in a SNAIL MAIL LETTER. THEY DO NOT CALL YOU ON THE PHONE TO TELL YOU THOSE THINGS.
My second favorite are fake calls from creditors several years after bankruptcy using information from your bankruptcy to make you feel like it’s a real account and who are asking you to pay an account which was included in your bankruptcy and saying that it wasn’t included in your bankruptcy. Call your bankruptcy attorney if you’re not sure. If you signed a reaffirmation agreement they might be right that you owe the money, but if that’s the case, then it will be easy to prove that a legitimate collection agency actually does exist and where they’re located.
Did a creditor sue you in bankruptcy and win a judgment stating that your debt to that creditor was not going to be included in your discharge order, those are the exceptions to your bankruptcy discharge. If that’s the case then again, finding out who the collection agency is will be easy and quick. The fake calls come from untraceable numbers through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone lines and you’re never going to figure out who called or from where.
The famous Nairobi email scam, I actually had a client who got caught by that one.
You Thought you had Great Credit
Now your house is gone, your car is gone, your woman or your man is gone. You must pay attention to your surroundings, and your credit.
Or it turns out, you’re no longer who you thought you were either.
Everyone nowadays, before a first date, has perused all the social media available to make sure that the new person isn’t unemployed or an alcoholic. Back in the day, a nice man asked a wonderful woman to marry him, well, before she would answer, she drove down to the Family Court and looked up his divorce file. Turns out he had been an abusive husband who didn’t pay his support payments.
That’s still a good idea of course because most of the stuff in divorce case files isn’t online. You can look up who sued you and usually find a copy of the summons and complaint but not in a divorce case, so a drive to the court house is still a good idea.
However, before the second or third date you could just ask to look at Credit Karma on his or her phone. My Wells Fargo account on my phone will give me my credit score.
How Do You Recover From Identity Theft
Pretty much the same way you do from any kind of bad credit, you go to work repairing and fixing your credit reports. The disputes are still required they just have a different message.
Credit repair requires some work, but if you do it right, it’s quite effective and can shoot your scores right back up to where they are supposed to be. How do you best repair your credit? Where do you get the best advice to do your own credit repair?