Any victim can tell you identity theft is no laughing matter. The hoops you may have to crawl through for weeks or even years to come, in trying to straighten out your life, can elicit far more tears than laughter. These tears would be most certainly tears of frustration as you do anything and everything to reinstate your good name and most probably your good credit.
Those of you who have no identity theft insurance, which means most of you, will spend at least a part of your day notifying businesses and agencies, credit reporting entities and credit card companies. You will write letters that will need to be notarized, claiming you are indeed the unwitting victim and not the architect of some nefarious plot to ruin your own reputation. Meanwhile, until the matter is cleared, you may suffer mightily as your credit score plummets and bills come due. Bills for things you never purchased.. This translates into being denied credit for products and services you really want or paying higher, penalty interest rates for having such lousy credit. You may want to check out office new social security for more.
Identity theft begins with nine little numbers. These nine numbers can mean the world to you. They are the nine digits comprising your Social Security Number, and they are as vulnerable to corruption as a politician at a lobbyist convention. Chances are your Social Security has been disseminated, accidentally or for a job. You probably have it in your wallet and on your computer. It may be crumpled up in your trash can; along with the other papers you didn’t bother shredding. With your Social Security Number and your date of birth safely in hand, an identity thief is off to the races.
These are but a few ways thieves gain access to your Social Security Number. There are even creepier ways, including Internet and database hacking. Then there is your new found lover, the Mr. or Miss Possible you met somewhere or even online. This is the person you dated, brought home and after you fell asleep they went roaming your house, rifled your desk or purse, or rummage your computer for your most intimate files. Doesn’t happen? When you discover to your chagrin someone took out a credit card with your name but at a different address, you’ll know the answer.
To an even greater extreme, your Social Security, accompanied by your date of birth can enable an identity thief to not only acquire credit in your name, but maybe a passport, which can used by or sold to some of our more unsavory members of this planet. While there is an adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity, it’s questionable whether there is anything positive about having your identity associated with a terrorist who just made the headlines on CNN.
Losing your identity to someone else will not only damage your credit and create all sorts of legal troubles. You can face psychological difficulties as well. Besides the task at hand to make your life whole once again, you will feel violated and abused. After all, our very identity is based on…well…our identity, and if some louse has usurped it for his own purposes, then it is understandable that until you repair the damages you feel you have lost at least a little piece of yourself. Identity theft is also embarrassing, because it will become incumbent upon you to explain to everyone that matters why your life has been rendered upside down.
Perhaps the worst part about identity theft is it may be quite awhile before you realize how much damage has been done. If someone applied for credit or ordered credit cards in your name but at a different address, months can pass before you are located and notified of your lapses by either the credit service or the collection agency they send after you. It is a rude awakening the day you get that first call and throughout the day begin to wonder what other shoes may begin to drop. More often than not, if someone secured credit in your name, they will secure more, running the limit in many cases. From that day on you are facing the grim ordeal of cleaning up the mess.
Not all identity theft will relate directly to credit acquisition and unlawful purchases. In Border States especially but no exclusively you may find undocumented workers have somehow come upon your social security number. Perhaps, again, you neglected to shred the sensitive information you dumped into your trashcan. Perhaps he bought it from one of hundreds of peddlers who sell phony documents and someone else’s Social Security Numbers to undocumented workers questing increasingly to appear like legitimate immigrants. In any event, you Social Security Number is not only used by that one undocumented worker. Chances are he has handed it out to his twelve best friends and family members. You don’t believe me? A woman called me recently to inquire as to why different names appeared on a Social Security Trace she ordered as part of a background check. It seemed odd to her that strange names would be appearing along with her employment candidate on the same document. As a favor, I ran her Social Security Number, and to her considerable chagrin, there was a male name attached to her number as well.
Can this be a problem? Often it is fairly benign and nothing comes of it. But then problems can arise, depending on your new bedfellow’s general behavior and whether he or she attempts to either get credit using your Social Security Number, or whether he or she is suddenly identified as part of a drug cartel or stolen car ring. These things do happen, and they happen when you need it least and least expect it. With the world growing increasingly crazy, what with terrorists and miscreants of every stripe the last thing you need is to be the target of a federal manhunt.