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Crisis of a different kind

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Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense
Identity Theft

I've just had it happen. It can happen to anyone. It is exhausting to deal with and in spite of that, it is essential to do what must be done.

I felt so exposed the last couple of days because someone got my numbers and canceled my cards and tried to get the reissues without my knowing. Do not let this happen to you. It felt like 36 non-stop hours of high crisis.

I hope this doesn't come across as preachy or as "gee, that's common sense." I was truly exhausted today and it took my all to keep going through the process until it was complete.

I've learned the hard way, and would like to offer the following ideas should anyone here lose their credit card or notice a purchase they did not make, or if a merchant declines a purchase on their card, of if they lose their social insurance/security number, bank card and PIN, or someone gains access to their line of credit...

1. Go to your bank immediately. If it is after hours, do it as soon as the closest branch is open. You can also make a phone report, especially if it is after hours. But if your card(s) is rejected by a merchant or huge chunks of money start exiting your account or you receive a new unrequested card, there is a problem on the account and probably not one of your making...so in that case, best to go to the bank in person.

2. At the bank, go to the customer service counter and say precisely what has happened. Report it as "suspected fraudulent use" of your credit card, as possible "identity theft," as bank card and PIN theft...

3. Make sure the customer account info they have about you in their file is correct. If it is not, ask who made the last change (and when) to each bit of info that is wrong. They might not tell you who because they have their own fraud investigators and there are "privacy issues", but they'll know you're on the ball. (Don't hesitate to take notes.)

4. Call the credit card compan/ies and cancel your card(s) that have been lost/stolen/used for a purchase that you did not make. Ask for reissues and ask when they can get them to you by mail or to the bank by courier. Watch for it in the mail or ask for the bank to call you when the card arrives.

5. Activate the new card as soon as you get it by taking photo ID and your social security/insurance card to the bank. (I didn't realize that if you have reported stolen cards, they may not activate you on the phone, so you're best to go to the bank and get it right the first time. :) )

6. Put passwords on your account(s) that you must give to a representative if any change in personal info, number of cards, credit limit, etc. is to be made on your file. This is simply another level of security.

6. Most countries have credit bureaus. Set up accounts with all of them - might cost you up to say $50+-, so not much compared to losing your life savings. You can ask them to flag your account so that any time someone who has your "info" tries to use it to get a new card or to take out a loan, the bank/credit company will see that there's a warning attached to your file, and they will contact you before any transaction is approved.

The cost of not taking these time-consuming and very frustrating, bureaucratic, red-taped steps is losing your life savings, losing any chance of getting a new card in the future, finding yourself in very deep debt for things you never purchased, losing your home because someone takes a loan out against your property and doesn't pay down the loan.

Be very careful with every credit card, line of credit, and bank statement you get from now on, whether or not you've had a problem. These problems can happen to anyone and they feel awful. Check your monthly statements to see if there's any unusual purchase that doesn't belong to you. Report any glitches to the bank right away. (Most of us even have a "purchase pattern" - a few standard items from one or two stores that go on our cards each month.)

Again, I hope this wasn't too preachy. But it was such a hassle for me the last two days, and I'd hate to see anyone else go through it. :)

total eclipse

SF Friend
Staff Alumni
Wow hun thanks for the information dam it eh sorry you had to go through all that scary I hope you have everything good now hun and nothing was taken from you most cards do have insurance policy with them if theft occurs bank will cover it will book mark this page just in case i ever need it which i hope i don't hugs

White Dove

Well-Known Member
i am sorry that you have been a victom of identity theft. i too was a victom and here in the usa it is very hard to correct the damage done. they had opened up accounts at digfferent states in the usa and never paid for the accounts thus but a few huge bad remarks onto my credit bureau and i have been contacted by several credit collection agencys. i have gotten several removed from my credit bureau but it is a very slow pace.

there is something you can do tho. there is this website called lifelock.com or something like that, not sure if its in any other countries but you sign up with them and pay like less then 10 dollars a month and they moniter your credit. if anyone tries to open a account anywhere in your name they alert you and the authorites right away. caught many people this way might be something you might want to try. with that not one person can ever get anything in your name nor change anything like bank accounts or anything without you knowing about it.

i am sure a google search can bring it up and the website to sing up on. it is well worth the small monthly fee to catch these dang theifs, anyhow thought i would tell you all about it.

and Acy sorry you had to go thru that. i feel for you as i am going thru the same thing almost. love ya,,



Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense
Thank you all for the support.

It was a rough go. Truly took the tar out of me to keep going; at one point, I wanted to crawl into bed and just leave it until next week. Another part of me was freaking out that someone had my name and info, so I had to complete the steps yesterday, not next week...The whole process required going back and forth to banks many times in two days. Being on hold on the phone for several minutes at a time with banks/credit card companies again and again as they kept going from department to the next higher department to resolve things. It ended up in the fraud investigation group of both cards, at two different banks.

One bank bank made me go home and come back with even more documentation to prove my identity. One person in the bank barely hid her snobbish surprise when she asked, "You don't have a passport?" meaning, I assumed, "Well, then, how on earth do you travel?" I am not in position to travel atm, so the $200+ fee for a passport is not money I will spend. Why is it up to others to judge whether or not I need a passport and if it is good or bad that I don't have one? :dunno:)

One other thing I did, was stop in at the local police station to find out if I needed to file a report with them. They went through all that I'd done and said wait and see if the internal fraud investigators send me a report. At that time I would file something with the police, including specific bank documentation that the bank would send. She also said with luck, the bank/card company's own investigations might turn up a "fraud ring" that they would report to the police and it would by-pass me - no need for me to be further involved. The police would work directly with the bank/company to get the fraudsters.

Luckily, this situation seems to be resolved at this point. I posted just because I found that these basic and immediate steps were perhaps "logical" but much more frustrating than I would ever have imagined. I sincerely feel for you White Dove that you have had any similar doings. I'm glad you're signed up with a flag on your accounts now, too. :hug:

Folks, just keep watching your accounts and statements and alert the bank and card company as soon as you even think something seems "off". Good luck to all that you never need to go through this. :)


Antiquities Friend
Staff Alumni
Internal fraud officers are usually right on the ball :smile:

A funny thing happened when someone hacked my barclay card.
Barclays rang me to ask if I had just tried to buy £2000 worth of theatre tickets (they wouldnt let such a high purchase thru without phoning first).
I said no and the fraud officer was on it immediately.
They cancelled the card and sent me a new one, then the fraud officer phoned to tell me the perpetrator had been caught, the silly sod ordered a pizza home delivery :lol!:
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