This post brought to you by LifeLock Facebook. All opinions are 100% mine.
This post does not have to do with crafts, cooking, or sewing, but it is a subject that I feel is very important to discuss.
Early this year one of our credit card companies called us inquiring about a large purchase at Best Buy in Michigan and the request for a new card to be sent to a new address. What? Derrick promptly told them that he did NOT make any purchases at Best Buy recently and that we lived in Ohio and not Michigan. That sick feeling, knowing you're privacy has been violated, came upon us. We worked things out with them and hoped that it was an isolated incident.
Derrick had signed up for Lifelock last year after hearing about it on the radio. He thought it might be beneficial with all of the scams that people are dealing with. Lifelock is an identity protection company that notifies you of fraud and when companies run credit checks on you.
Since the Best Buy purchases were on an existing credit card, nothing was flagged from Lifelock, but we knew it was only a matter of time since someone had hacked our information. The criminals were smart. They used credit cards that were open, but ones that we hadn't used in at least a year. No credit checks were needed so nothing was flagged. So we didn't notice things racking up as fast. When we looked into that card we noticed that there were a number of charges on that account in the past couple of days.
Fast forward 5 days...
Lifelock called and emailed us letting us know that our credit report had been run for a new account. Immediately after that notification, two more came through for two more accounts! It was getting out of hand. Derrick called them back and told them that those were NOT from us.
That was it. Lifelock took over and contacted the credit card companies and canceled the accounts. They worked things out with the financial companies and within a month or so the issues were resolved and our credit report was clean.,
If they hadn't notified us of the credit checks, we wouldn't have known about the new accounts until we were receiving bills for them. The customer service was fabulous. They started to get to know Derrick very well.
We had at least 10 new credit cards/accounts opened. Shopping sprees at Lowe's, American Eagle, Best Buy, etc. Then they'd ditch the card and open a new one, creating a whole new mess for us. We'd then alert Lifelock after they let us know that our credit had yet been run again, and they'd take it from there.
We had checking accounts opened under Derrick's name. They had his social, mother's maiden name, our home address an our account passwords. It made me sick. We had returned checks coming to our house with Derrick's "signature" signing them. It was not his signature. Again, I felt sick.
He filed a police report and filed every case away.
We went through this for months. $20,000 in fraud against Derrick's name. At this time we were also applying for a home loan. Perfect timing right? So our credit needed to stay CLEAN!
I don't know what we would have done without Lifelock. They covered us up to $1,000,000 in damage against our name. If they couldn't work it out with the financial companies, they'd pay it off. To date, not a dime has been spent to pay it off. They've resolved EACH and EVERY issue against Derrick's name.
Our credit report is clean. We have our home loan.
Is it the end? Nope. Now that his info is viral, it will never be over. We closed credit cards that we haven't used in a year and only have a couple now. We monitor those very well and Lifelock does the rest as far as new accounts.
When Lifelock approached me about discussing their services with my readers, I jumped at the opportunity. We've lived it, we are customers. Our children are signed up with them as well. Criminals use minor's social security numbers and it goes un-noticed until the child reaches 16 and goes to apply for a job. We didn't want that happen so Lifelock is monitoring all activity under our children's names.
We signed up for the whole package and let me tell you, the peace of mind that gives us is a wonderful thing.
Here are a few statistics:
Households earning $100k+/year have the highest identity fraud rate at 7.4%.
The average cost of having your identity stolen :$1,513. 11.6 million adults were victims of identity fraud in 2011 and a total of $18 billion was lost.
Social Media/Smart Phone Fraud: 6.6% of victims own smart phones. 6.8% are social media users who click on applications. 8.2% are social media users who have "checked in" using their smart phone GPS.
10.1% are LinkedIn users.
One thing that you can do right away is ask your self How hack friendly is your password? If you only have 6 characters in your password with no symbol, it only takes a hacker .000224 seconds to hack it. WOW. If you have 10 characters and 1 symbol, it takes 20 days for a professional break in. After this happened, we vamped up our passwords so much so that it took me forever to memorize them.
Become a fan of LifeLock on Facebook for more tips.