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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How to NOT become an identity theft victim--OFF Topic Blog post

This blog post is completely off topic, as you can tell by the heading.  Life has thrown some major curve balls at me lately and the Diabetes Online Community has been shaken to the core with Mandy's passing.  I don't really feel like even talking about Diabetes much right now.  Diabetes has stolen Mandy's life and changed the course of her family's lives forever. I am so mad about Diabetes and mad that we are STILL waiting for a freaking (trying not to swear hear because I am so mad) cure.  So I don't want to talk about it anymore for a while.

During all this stupid curve ball crap my identity was stolen.  YEAH its not fun and I have learned a LOT and I want to share this all with you so that you do not become an identity theft victim yourself.  Don't be as oblivious as I was, thinking that living in cornfieldville Illinois was safe!  So hello whoever you are identity thief,  there is a special place in Hell for you when you die! 

I will list the things you all need to do right now, DO NOT DELAY!

  1. Run your own credit report EVERY SINGLE YEAR for free on annualcreditreport.com otherwise these identity thieves will run it and then have all of your credit history in their hands.  They can then answer all challenge questions properly and get credit in your name, use your current credit cards and even increase your credit limit on any cards you have.  They typically won't spend the money to run your report if you have already done it. 
  2. CANCEL ALL DEPARTMENT STORE CREDIT CARDS or set up a password for each card!!  All these people need is a fake ID card and your social security number and they can spend on your card.  
  3. LOWER your credit limit on the ONE credit card you want to keep and also set up a password, DO NOT let them use your mothers maiden name, that info is available all over the internet, just search for yourself, you will be blown away at what is available.
  4. Sign up for all the free credit monitoring websites before the identity thieves do.  This includes: www.creditkarma.com www.creditsesame.com www.quizzle.com www.credit.com www.nerdwallet.com  After these people sign up in your name they can monitor all your credit cards, loans, mortgage, etc and if you cancel a card and get a new on they will also see that information
  5. Go to every single website you can find your name and information on and follow their steps to remove your name from their website
  6. Do all these things for your spouse or significant other as well
  7. If you have a debit card with a large daily limit get it lowered as low as you can handle
  8. Take all these things I have told you very seriously as this is what has happened to me and it is a disaster.
  9. Pay for some sort of credit monitoring service for you and your whole family.
  10. If you are no longer using a credit card, cancel it because if you aren't watching it they will use it.
  11. If your identity has been used IMMEDIATELY put a fraud alert on your credit file.  You can do that by calling the credit bureaus and using their automated system to put an alert on your file.
  12. If it has been stolen, call your local or county police to file a report.   After you have your report you can freeze your credit for FREE, because after they have gotten your ENTIRE CREDIT HISTORY off the internet they can forever get credit in your name, because they KNOW all the challenge questions based off your credit history.  
  13. Call the Drivers License Facility and make sure no one has come in claiming to be you to get a duplicate license, MOST of these people just fake them and of course use their own picture.  
  14. Call the Social Security Office to make sure no one has requested a duplicate card
  15. Any fraudulent inquiries or new credit in your name, call that company immediately to tell them it was not you and to freeze that account and to start working on getting it removed from your credit file and removing the inquiry on your credit report.  
  16. OPEN ALL YOUR MAIL!  I got 2 credit cards in the mail that I didn't apply for, if I had not opened that mail I would have never known my identity was stolen. I called them immediately, found out what happened and put the fraud alert on my credit files.
  17. When my brain starts functioning again I will let you know what else I have had to do!

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