People want to be me. From what I can tell, there are two of them. And really, it’s not about me as much as it is about my social security number and line of credit. They are thieves looking for an identity and they don’t care who is on the other end of the information.
I recently received a statement from a department store credit card I haven’t used in years. It arrived at my new address with a balance of $1,237.87. All charges occurred in New York by Ralph Lauren fans who purchased men’s and boys’ clothing. Upon further review of the statement, I found they also made a $36 donation to charity.
My heart almost pounded out of my chest as I dialed the number listed on the statement. It took a half hour to unravel the mystery. Credit Card Woman told me the thief called the company on July 20 and added a name to my account. The person jumped through three tough security questions that are randomly selected using public record information. I received different questions than this person and I found them difficult – so I have no idea how they got through the potential roadblock.
Credit Card Woman told me that the balance on my card was $0. She said a check by phone had paid off the balance.
Then a light bulb went off in her head. She said the person paid the balance with the intent of maxing out the credit card again before the check bounced, allowing them to get away with double the merchandise.
I felt sick.
While on the phone with a very helpful Credit Card Woman, I noticed two other envelopes arrived in that day’s mail: a notice from the credit card saying they added someone to my account and a credit card with the name “Emmanuel Sesay” on it.
Credit Card Woman requested that I file a police report so that when her fraud department called to interview me, I would have a case number.
If this ever happens to you, the best advice I can give you is to make copies of all paperwork and then write or type exactly what happened. Take all items to the police department. They will take your information and give you a case number. By writing everything out, it saves you and the police officer time by not having to interview you. If they have further questions, they will call you.
Clearing my name this time took about an hour. Three years ago, my identity was stolen for the first time and the crooks did a lot more damage to my credit. They opened multiple cards, changed passwords and blocked me out of my own accounts. It was a nightmare and took weeks to straighten everything out.
I just found out that there’s a class action lawsuit against my former mortgage company for allowing customers’ personal information to be compromised. That explained round one, but I’m not sure how they got me this time.