Thursday, November 29, 2007

A compromising position

I suppose it was bound to happen to someone close to me, but when I got the call, I was still pretty doggone shocked.

Someone "stole" my husband's identity and used it to open an account at a major retailer a state away. Fortunately, the financial services provider for the retailer smelled a stinkin' rat and called us immediately.

After many phone calls, he now has an "alert" on his social security number, et cetera. However, as a public service announcement (does this count as community service in case I do something illegal at some point in my life?), I want to remind all of you that filling out forms for new clients can be somewhat of a crap shoot. Even if your contact is completely legit him- or herself, someone else who works in his or her office might not be so squeaky-clean. It's fairly simple to "lift" an individual's info and use it to buy all sorts of crap.

Consequently, I'm hoisting my fat ass onto my dusty soapbox and urging you to exercise caution when giving out personal data. You don't have to get paranoid about it -- life's too short to turn our OCD tendencies into overdrive -- yet you shouldn't ignore the fact that there are assholes and cons out there.

Enough said. Be safe, boys and girls. This playground needs you healthy, wealthy and wise. Oh, and a little bit witty and weird, too.

9 comments:

Tess Wittler said...

Unfortunately, identity theft is a part of today's society. I am sure this is old news for all your readers, but getting an EIN from the IRS makes it easy to protect your SSNo. and still fill out those W-9 forms. Just visit irs.gov and click "Online EIN Application" and lickity-split you have one!

Article idea - ID theft insurance - what exactly is it and how does it work?

The Quoibler said...

Tess:

You are absolutely right about the EIN. That's incredibly valuable advice. I love your article idea, too! :)

Angelique

Shameless said...

Good advice. I've been careful with all my details for ages now, having heard a similar story over here. :-)

Church Lady said...

There have been a couple of times (not many) when merchants wanted to put my DL number on my check. That's nuts. When I didn't want to, they didn't want to sell. That's stupid.
A local Costco still asks for phone numbers on checks. Sorry, but that's stupid too. I just put a fake number I have memorized.

We use one credit card to pay for 95% of the things we need. It helps us to keep track of things, and we've built up a good relationship with this company.

Thanks for the post. And Tess, thanks for that information.

Quoibler, I hope it gets sorted out very quickly for you and your DH.

Ello said...

Oh yes - I had a big identity theft scare and so I bought the equifax protection service that alerts me if anything happens in my name or social. Scary isn't it?

jason evans said...

Somebody tried to nab Aine's identity a couple years back, so we purchased the service Ello mentioned. A year later, they tried again.

The police couldn't care less.

SzélsőFa said...

This is scary, indeed. There are various sorts of parasites everywhere, including mankind.

TIV: the individual voice said...

Thanks for the alert. Wishful thinking assumes it will never happen to moi.

The Quoibler said...

Shameless: You've been really smart, then. Better safe...

Church Lady: Thanks for the well-wishes. (Can I have a hat, pretty please?) My DH did indeed get it sorted out, but it was a PIA.

Ello: What scares me the most is that for some people, this is how they make their livings. They just buy and sell identities. Disgusting and despicable.

Jason: We were fortunate in that our police did seem to give a damn. (Of course, they could just be really good actors!) Sorry to hear that about Aine. I'm glad they didn't succeed! There can be only one!

Szelsofa: Parasites, indeed. I love the way you put that! I need to get better bug spray, I guess!

TIV: Oh, yes. And I think we all want to believe we're immune.