Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Identity Thieves

Okay. So I promised myself today: less computer, more walking this baby out. And I will. I will. You would think walking up and down stairs to pee all the time would make a difference. But alas, it doesn't. And every morning and evening since Monday, my husband gives me that whining expression of "do you want this baby to come out on its own or not?" This morning I had enough and told him that his impatience was not helping. I can only do so much. My body and this baby have to decide when it's right.

Anyways...my cousin became a follower. I only have five immediate cousins. My father's older sister never had children so me and my brother are the last limbs of that family tree. And truly I say this because my grandpa's brother didn't have any biological children and my grandpa's sister died very young. So the only cousins I have are from my mom's younger brothers. Which it's weird to hear my hubby go on about how many cousins he has. He even has two cousins who are 1st cousins on one side and 2nd cousins on the other. And no they aren't inbred. Hubby's dad's cousin married hubby's mom's sister. If you can follow that. It's actually not that weird; kinda like two brothers marry two sisters. It happens. Okay. Okay. So I have five immediate cousins of which I am technically the oldest. I say this because two weeks older doesn't exactly make too much of a difference. My cousin and I sort of shared the title if you want to call it that. The youngest cousin just finished high school last year(it's an entire different blog of why people finish school and never seem to do anything afterwards like my own brother ahem hem).
So yeah. I'm getting old.

I also live in a state where identity theft is really high. I suppose living close to the border a lot of people are desperate to stay in the US. That being said most identity theft is from immediate family members like your mom and dad. Many times mom and dad end up having money issues so they get a credit card in your name and run it up. All you need is a persons name (and in the case of my poor cousin it can be your maiden name too), mom's maiden name (but not in all instances), and a social security number. This has led me to take strict precautions with my own identity. It's why I don't tell anyone on the internet who I am because all you have to do is look up person's name and state to find a phone number and address. It's too easy. Once you've done that, it's a walk in the park to look up official documents like a birth certificate or a marriage licence. So I don't tell anybody anything at all. Nothing. I know it makes me all anonymous and mysterious. And I don't include pictures of myself either. I've known a few people with serious mental issues who fixate on people so no pictures either. But that's another blog.

Oh, well. I don't care. I get enough bill collectors looking for people that I've never heard of who are using my phone number. I even had a bill collector looking for a lady who lived in the same town as me with the same name. I had to argue with them about that. Finally they asked me where I lived and confirmed that it was not me. I think they just looked up a name and got a number for the same city without bothering to confirm if it was the same address. Apparently she had taken a cooking magazine subscription out and hadn't bothered paying for it. Go figure. And to top it off, her phone number is unlisted or I might have called her to let her know.

And don't get me started about my social security number. Everybody and his brother asks for it. The doctor's office, the hospital, everybody. I quite giving it out and try to get hubby to do the same. If it's not required, you're not going to know. The only people who need it are government people (like the IRS for tax purposes) and work (who need it for tax purposes). The dr and the hospital just want it in case you default in payment, but truly they can track you through the insurance or driver's licence number so I don't know why they ask. If it ever becomes an issue, which it hasn't, then I would just simply leave. It's too suspicious if they want that info. Which is why I'm doubly surprised given the situation with my cousin that my mom has hers printed on her checks. Stupid idea. And it's also stupid to use your SS# for your driver's licence and student id number. Mississippi for years did that. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. It's probably how my cuz got her identity stolen that or there was some dishonest employee somewhere.

I also don't sign the back of my credit card. I write "C photo id." I know that credit cards hate that but I don't want my signature forged either. The post office gave me a long explanation of why I need to sign the back, but I didn't. The last few times I've gone after that incident, I wrote a check or brought cash. I hardly keep cash. And for checks I don't put my first name on them. Only initials. That way if I lose the check book no one has any idea of how I sign my name. One of my roomates was from Taiwan and she always signed in Mandarin because that's hard to copy in the US as well. And debt cards. I never use the debt function. With credit the computer only gets to see if you can cover the charge. With debt the computer has access to your entire account in order to see how much money is in it. So I never use debt either. Cash is better, but I don't like to carry too much money on my person.

Paranoid? Maybe. But if you knew the grief people go through just to get their credit restored, you would be a little paranoid to. Just look at my cousin.

I don't really know all the details of how my cousin got her identity stolen, but it's been rough on her. It's ruined her credit, and she's had to constantly fill out paper work every time this lady uses her name and runs up a line of credit. Plus there are the police reports that she has to file. She's having to constantly monitor her credit reports for any additional thievery. But I'll let you read about it for yourself http://millerblog08.blogspot.com/2010/01/identity-theft-its-baaaaack.html

2 comments:

  1. Sad that happened to your cousin!

    I don't blame you for being so careful. There are certain things I don't/won't share online for obvious reasons... a lot of what you mentioned I already had up, even before I ever started blogging because my dad has his own website lol. I've cut back on certain things (using less names, or less often) and am strict about not describing the area I live in. I can't help the city, but its big... Unless someone stalks me to Church or the Birth Center (which stinks because that would be possible) I feel pretty confident about what's up with that. I'd like to be a bit more private but I can't figure out how without scrapping the whole idea and its how my family knows what's going on with us. They won't do passwords... and emails get lost and stuff. Sorry started venting a bit... Things can get scary.

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  2. Yep, totally sucks for her. I was reading some old blog posts about the incidents and apparently the lady got away with it too easily. She bought a harley and misspelled my cousin's maiden name 3 times!!! And she bought 2,000 dollars worth of underwear from Victoria's Secret. The grand total of everything was 300,000 dollars. And the reason why my cousin found out was because she kept getting these bills in the mail that she thought were bogus until she inquired. So check your credit often.

    No, go ahead vent away. I think my family reads this stuff, but I'm not sure. I know that my mom and my MIL have on occasion. They usually just e-mail if they find something interesting. I like to e-mail them mostly anyway. So they will get e-mailed birth pictures and the name.

    The rest of cyber space can deal with a picture of a hand or a foot and maybe some initials.

    Speaking of stalkers, I had a guy in church who suffered from mental disease. It was really horrible. He even had brain surgery to try and help, but it didn't work. He had a tendency to fixate on people. Since I was in the choir (and the youngest one), he started fixating on me. He'd tell me that I was beautiful and holy and stuff like that even though he knew nothing about me. After that, I kept a few male friends around me. He got intimidated by men easily.

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