Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hey, that's not me!

thief with credit card
Credit Fraud

I shop frequently at Home Depot,  so when the notice came out that their electronic records had been accessed and credit card info stolen, I was mildly concerned.

Two years ago, my debit card was compromised.   My bank caught the $600 worth of charges from a boutique in the south of France, and quickly replaced my card.  (If only I HAD been shopping in Nice!).

On the recommendation of my bank, I started using a credit card for all transactions, and checking the account every couple of weeks.

You can probably figure out the rest - this week, I checked the account and found that  I had been simultaneously - shopping in New York City; buying lunch at a hospital in Florida:  and placing orders from QVC!  I am NOT a QVC shopper.  AND charging $1 at each day.   After 30 minute call to the fraud department of my credit card company, all of that was cleared up. Or so I thought.

The next day a letter from QVC arrived, telling me that my pin number on my account had been updated as I had requested.   A call to customer service at QVC, and the fraudulent account was closed.  But now I knew that my name and address was associated with fraudulent use of my credit card.

So, off to research what I should be doing to protect my identity and my credit.

First stop was the Federal Trade Commission website, where there is an excellent page dealing with how to address identity theft.  The page walks consumers through the steps to take initially, such as placing a fraud alert on your credit file, and how to get a free credit report.  There is also detail about further steps you can take to protect your identity.

Since I had a strong suspicion that my information was stolen through Home Depot, I checked their website for any information.  There I found that I could sign up for a free year’s subscription to a credit monitoring company, and I took advantage of that offer.

I am cautiously hopeful that I have taken enough steps to protect my identity and financial information, but will certainly continue to be vigilant.  After all, I don’t want to end up like the characters in these works -

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Book Cover - To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
To Rise Again

After noticing his identity has been stolen and used to create various social media accounts, a man with a troubled past, Paul O'Rourke, begins to wonder if his virtual alter ego is actually a better version of himself.

Book Cover "I'll Walk Alone"
I'll Walk Alone
I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

Thirty-two year old Alexandra Moreland is a rising star in the architectural world and lives in Manhattan. But when she is plagued by identity theft, her successful life is turned upside down. Someone has gained access to her bank accounts, credit cards, personal background, and is now impersonating her. Then, with overwhelming circumstantial evidence stacked against her, Alexandra is arrested for the murder of a woman she claims she's never met. Or has she?

DVD cover of film Identity Thief
Identity Thief
Identity Thief (DVD)

 - Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy star in this story of  mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson who travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity.

Cover image of e-resource
50 Ways to ...
If you feel that you'd like to have more information about protecting yourself from identity theft or credit fraud take a look at this e-resource:  50 ways to protect your identity in a digital age by Steve Weisman.  Just click on this link to access the catalog record, then link to the e-resource from the record.

Stay safe!  Anita

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