Sigh…identity theft.

Is there such a thing as being overzealous when it comes to protecting your identity? If there is, then I am guilty. I shred every scrap of paper that might possibly be of interest to anyone interested in stealing my information, monitor my credit reports constantly, and closely scan my credit card bills every few days for signs of unusual activity (admittedly, I get a lot of help on this front from credit card “fraud alerts” that are triggered by large purchases at random office supply stores and Target, but that’s another story).

So I’m pretty vigilant. But now I’ve got a reason to be.

This morning, my husband Josh put his work bag down on the sidewalk (I know, I know…) while he played soccer with my son in the driveway before school. You can guess where this is going. Yep, someone walked off with his bag. In this bag was his work computer and a few items that were expensive (like his glasses), but replaceable. And then there was the folder of documents we had just pulled together for a home loan application. Paystubs, bank statements…a treasure trove of very personal information, complete with Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and more.

Sigh.

We swung into action immediately, freezing our credit, calling our banks, and filing a police report. But now there’s not much more we can do. Except wait. And cross our fingers. And wish we were back on this beach in Mexico, right about now.

hyatt ziva puerto vallarta

Have you ever experienced anything like this? What did you do??

Comments

  1. SharonG says:

    So very sorry to read this, Kendra. Can only hope that some good soul finds what isn’t important to the thief (cash and computer!) and gets in touch with you. Was Josh’s wallet also in the bag? Are there lots of people walking past your driveway at that time of day? I think, living in Germany, we just aren’t as aware of Identity Theft as everybody living in the U.S. although, I too, am compulsive about destroying any piece of paper that contains even just my first and last names on it.
    Please keep us posted … I’m hoping for the best for you all.

    • Points Pixie says:

      SharonG – Thank you so much! There aren’t a lot of people walking down our street in the morning. I’m hoping it was someone who just wanted the computer. LUCKILY Josh’s wallet and phone weren’t in the bag. that is the silver lining.

  2. Easy Victor says:

    Yes, it happened to me. During an extended vacation. When we returned there were “welcome to” letters from a half dozen retail stores that the perp for credit from- my credit. You need to file a police report immediately and get a copy if that report. Call your credit agencies and get a copy if their fraud identity forms. Fill it out and send in any paperwork they require- that police report will be one of them. If someone opens an account at a retailer ( or wherever), you need to go thru the process for each one.

    It’s a PITA, but there is no other choice. From this point out you will have to approve any credit that you are applying for each time by some method that the credit agencies require.

    Good luck.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Easy Victor – Ugh, what a terrible surprise for you on your return home from vacation. Thanks for the advice about getting a copy of the police report – I will definitely do that. Hopefully your tip will help others as well – thank you!

  3. Marilyn B says:

    Oh Kendra,
    Feeling for you right now. A few years ago, as I was about to go on a cruise (early Decemer), I called the bank (Capital One – because their atm card had no fees at the time) to inform them that I would be away and might use their card on my cruise.
    About 2 days before Christmas I was sorting mail and almost tossed an envelope from AT&T because I had nothing with them, when a bright orange stripe caught my eye because it said Information About Your New Account.
    Well, someone had my social security number and and I think birthdate and went into a phone store in NYC and opened and account, got 4 iPhones charge to the account and had it all on the bill. They changed my house number by 3 digits, but since this is not a city apartment but rather a suburban condo, the mailman delivered it to me. Funny thing is, the day the crime was committed, was the closing day of the billing cycle, so I got the bill within 2 weeks. And that day was a sea day for the cruise so I could have proved that it wasn’t me if I needed to.
    No way to know if it was a bank employee or from a doctor’s office ( I was treated for breast cancer and had a lot of followup visits to my medical team – don’t worry – early catch, lumpectomy, radiation – all done, all clear). No credit card info stolen, only social security. That’s why it is so unnerving
    So I did the police report and now pay Experian every month for monitoring service. The credit cards are the easy part. The social security number, since you can’t change it, is more disconcerting. Especially since I am close to retiring and going on Medicare – both tied to that unchangeable number.
    So far, for the past 4 years, I’ve been OK. But I am also part of the Anthem healthcare hack attack.
    All the best and just try to be calm as you go through this.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Marilyn – Wow to all of the above. So glad you are okay on all fronts. Thanks for the info – I’ve been wondering what would happen if someone tried to open a phone account…

  4. pinkisnice says:

    I’m so terribly sorry to hear this – and can identify with your feelings. My house was robbed (took laptops w SS#s, tax info, etc.) when I was on vacation last week and trying to handle it from overseas was inpossible. I couldn’t get a single working phone number for any of the credit agencies and none of their sites would allow me to freeze my credit online. I signed up for Lifelock, but that’s more reactive, meaning they alert me after-the-fact. I’ve yet to be successful in freezing my credit since the agencies want me to mail all of my key info (ss#, address, etc.) to them, which is ridiculous and makes me feel more vulnerable to theft. Ack. Were you able to freeze your credit online or via phone? I feel like a sitting duck. Hope things go smoothly for you from here and thanks for any tips.

    • Points Pixie says:

      pinkisnice – Awful! In case you need the numbers, here they are:
      Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
      Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
      Experian: 1-888-397-3742
      I was able to handle this over the phone. Hopefully you will have luck with this, as well. I also called my bank (Chase) and they implemented a greater level of security for any transactions. Good luck! Bummed that you are in the same boat.

  5. I learned my lesson the hard way.. An employee of my small (Foreign Service Benefit Plan) health insurance stole my identity in 2013. They made a fake driver’s license and opened numerous store credit cards. I’m OCD about monitoring my credit report and cards, so I noticed immediately. It was a pain filing police reports, etc as I lived overseas at the time, but everything was resolved a few months later. It’s a complete disaster, especially when someone gets access to “instant” credit and there is no verification process, such as mailing a card to your verified address. I am sure that you will be fine and wish you the best of luck!

  6. A costly mistake, but not the end of the world. With that much information and “treasure” theres a chance the crooks will be caught. Your dilemma is my prayers.

  7. Ariana says:

    This is terrible. I hope it gets resolved. A friend of mine had a break-in at her house in Fremont while she was out of town and they took everything of value, including her laptop. A few weeks later, the thief had pulled her personal info off her computer and managed to open several credit cards in her name. One of them was an Amazon credit card and my friend was able to get his address from an order he placed with the card (Amazon was super cooperative). She provided the thief’s name and address to the Fremont police department to investigate. Their response? “Sorry, but we’re not going to do anything else. Due to budget cuts we can only investigate homicides.” I really hope the Berkeley police department is less apathetic about this.

  8. Rebecca says:

    This. TOTALLY. sucks. Really sorry to hear about this unfortunate incident.

    I don’t have any experience, tips or tricks in this area other than I think you need a cocktail, or three.

  9. Don’t forget to make sure you’ve reported this to the IRS; get a pin number for your taxes next year (which does limits how you file them). You want to make sure you don’t owe taxes for something you didn’t do/purchase/etc….and you want to make sure your refund comes to you instead of anyone else.

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