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URL:  https://boards.fool.com/experiencing-an-id-theft-32265759.aspx

Subject:  Experiencing an ID Theft Date:  6/2/2016  3:38 AM
Author:  CMFMutwa Number:  310535 of 312858

Birth certificate, social security card, DD214. Physical documents. Can't give details, because of potential for a lawsuit. I am not the only one affected. There are about 100 other victims.

I looked at the board FAQ. It is really out of date.:

My credit report lists an account that isn't mine, and the source of the account insists it is accurate!

or

I think I may be a victim of ID theft! What do I do?

Contact the FTC (http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/), your local law enforcement agency, and all three credit bureaus. Have the bureaus put a "fraud block" on your report. This means that creditors should contact you before opening credit in your name. Dispute all accounts that are not yours with the credit bureaus. Tell them that the accounts are fraudulent. This is a situation where it is a good idea to also call the holders of the fraudulent accounts so the appropriate freezes may be made immediately. However, follow up all communications in writing, and use certified return receipt.
If your social security number has been stolen, contact your local Social Security Administration office for help. In some circumstances, they may issue you a new number.


A new social security number is probably a non-starter for most people. Action would have to be taken with every agency using your social security number: VA, IRS, Passport Agency, Drivers License, Financial Institutions, etc. etc. etc. And Social Security could screw up the transfer of earnings records. This is a last resort.

The FTC, like most government agencies, including the VA and the Passport Center, will respond only after a fraudulent use of stolen ID takes place. If you want to prevent misuse of ID before the crime occurs, you need to do the following:

Immediate actions to take upon an ID theft where the data have not yet been used fraudulently.

(1) File an extended fraud alert or credit freeze with all three credit agencies. We might end up doing the freeze, since we have redundant credit cards and no other anticipated need for credit. I have started with a free initial alert online with one credit agency. It will notify the two others automatically.

(2) Report this to the IRS using form 14309. There is a box to check for data loss but where fraud has not yet occurred. You can fax it. A consequence is that you might have to file paper returns in the future, although I have yet to experience this. But at least this gets me a head start if there are fraudulent social security or IRS transactions.

(3) File a police report. This can usually be done over the phone.

(4) Contact your homeowner's insurance policy underwriter. My policy has an identity theft rider (USAA), and they have an "identity theft team". However, I was not all that impressed with the self-help documents they sent. They seem out of date and lacking in some items I am listing here.

(5) I have taken steps to file an alert with the county clerk about my property title, to see what can be done to flag the title for potential fraud. I have low expectations about this, but will let you know if there is a helpful result. Title fraud is a rising phenomenon.

(6) I am working on getting a replacement social security card and DD214, not that this helps for the security problem.

I notified the VA hospital chaplain where I am a patient through online secure mail (the chaplain was the only choice for general questions). She passed the issue to another person. I'll get back to you if it turns out if this falls under the Stolen Valor Act.

Side rant #1.

I did get a helpful person on the phone from the Passport Office. She said, of course there will be no fraud because we demand a social security number and a driver's license. I politely thanked her and hung up. What she didn't consider is that a birth certificate and social security number may be all that is needed to get a driver's license.

I am living overseas. My current nightmare is someone else getting a passport in my name, and encountering problems at Immigration when we fly back.

Side rant #2.

Why aren't Social Security cards photo or biometric ID? At least that could be optional. Why do we have 1940s security on the most fundamental ID American citizens can have?

Final Q: Has anyone had good experience with professionals or online identity guards?

Paul
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