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Someone stole my credit card, should I be worried about anything else?
September 17, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Someone stole my credit card. The fraudulent charges have been taken care of, but is there anything else I should be worried about?

My credit card (that I charge a whopping $9 a month on for Netflix) is expiring next month. Chase sent me a new card on Sep 4th, I never received it. Today, someone charged a whole bunch of money at a whole bunch of stores to my account. They're in Florida, I haven't been to Florida in years (I'm in NYC). The fraud department at caught it, I verified it wasn't me. Obviously somewhere between Chase sending me my new card and me getting my new card, things went wonky and some jerk got their hands on the envelope. My account is temporarily closed/denied/whatever until I get my new card (with a new account number) and activate it, and I'm not liable for any of the charges.

Awesome!

Except, now these people have my name, address, and a credit card (even if it's useless) with my name on it. Is there anything that I should be concerned about or do to try to ensure that they don't use my identity to do anything else? I've certainly used a credit card as an ID before, and after talking to my roommate just this week about these things (he has no state issued ID or passport and needed to get on a plane), a credit card plus any piece of paper with your name on it is considered enough ID to do whatever you want at a lot of places. Even though I'm in debt (thanks, school) and am sort of underemployed, I have pretty decent credit. I'd REALLY like to keep it that way.

So, is there anything I should do? I don't intend on taking out any loans or opening any new credit accounts in the immediate future, but I may consolidate my several private school loans at some point in the next year or so. (I would get advice from a financial planner, but see the underemployed bit? I can't afford it.)
posted by AlisonM to Work & Money (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
a credit card plus any piece of paper with your name on it is considered enough ID to do whatever you want at a lot of places

What places are those? Seriously, don't worry about it. Get a free credit report (at annualcreditreport.com) in a couple months and make sure everything on it is yours. You don't have to get reports from all three agencies at once; instead, get a different agency's report every 4 months, so you have coverage year-round. Other than being vigilant, you have done everything you can and should do.
posted by kindall at 3:56 PM on September 17, 2009


I can't imagine that your card would be very useful to anyone...I have never heard of it being used as ID. A second form on ID maybe, but certainly not without a government issued one. I lose CCs a lot (unfortunately), and mainly the hassle is in waiting on the new one. The only number is useless and you have zero liability at this point.

FYI, in the last several years I have switch my CC addresses to a PO box which I use when shopping online, CC mailing address, etc. I am not sure if it is a real safeguard but it seemed appropriate to me at the time...

I think you are safe.
posted by mdn31 at 4:04 PM on September 17, 2009


This happened to me earlier this year, and there have been no repercussions whatsoever (after having to disable an account in my name for a Korean MMORPG, but the card was immediately disabled so the account wouldn't have carried beyond the first billing cycle anyway). Get a periodic credit report as kindall recommends, and you'll be fine.
posted by goo at 4:06 PM on September 17, 2009


I've been the victim of this; had much the same resolution as you. Nothing else happened to me since. My credit is fine. So there's a single data point for you.

People using stolen cards are just as lazy as the next thief; they'll take the low-hanging fruit of immediate charging, then cut and run. Any extra ID theft smacks of effort to them. (And more risk.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:09 PM on September 17, 2009


Except, now these people have my name, address, and a credit card (even if it's useless) with my name on it.

As others have said, they can't really do anything useful with your canceled credit card. In fact, since it's the one piece of physical evidence tying them to the crime, if they have any common sense at all they would have ditched the card immediately after it started getting denied. Other than that they just have your name and address, and they can get someone's name and address out of a phonebook if that's all they need for a scam.
posted by burnmp3s at 4:22 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pull a free credit report in a few months like kindall says to be safe, but you should be fine. Only other thing to take care of is making sure that anyone (like Netflix) who charged your old card regularly gets updated with your new CC information, or they will send you nagging emails and eventually stop sending you movies. Same with accounts like Amazon that keep your card on file.

If you are concerned about this in the future and your CC company is also a bank with branches in your area, you could ask them to send your card to a branch instead of your home. They will check ID and give it to you when you come to pick it up. I've done this before when I lost my wallet and needed my cards replaced but was at school on the opposite side of the country from my permanent address. Really not necessary in this case, but if it helps you sleep easier, having the card sent to the branch might help.
posted by zachlipton at 4:23 PM on September 17, 2009


The same thing also happened to me late last year. My bank assured me that whoever stole my information couldn't do anything more since they gave me a new card. I made sure to check my credit report as kindall suggested and placed a 3-month fraud alert on my credit report just in case. Nothing has happened since.
posted by wiretap at 4:46 PM on September 17, 2009


Consumerist.com had info on this a day or 2 ago. Indentity theft was the key word I think.
posted by Freedomboy at 4:54 PM on September 17, 2009


For one, somewhere on the internet your name and your address (as well as any/all previous addresses and the addresses of your relatives) are strung willy nilly for everyone to see. It is the same case for most of us. http://www.zabasearch.com/ in particular.

Secondly, this happens a lot. As a data point, it happened to my co-worker's wife twice in a little over a month. She was just using a bad online vendor. One they found the culprit, nothing bad happened.

Also I have no idea where the notion that a credit card and a sheet of paper can get you into things came from. Like kindall I'd like to know what he was able to accomplish with those two things.
posted by june made him a gemini at 5:16 PM on September 17, 2009


I work in fraud detection for a big huge bank and deal with this every day, so here goes...

Many of the people above are correct; you're probably fine. They got your card number and your address, not your SSN, mother's maiden name, blood type, first born, blahblah.

What I recommend to my cardholders if they're nervous about further fraud on their account is to place an alert on their account with the credit bureaus. This makes you provide them with lots and lots of extra information in order to do things to existing accounts that may potentially be scary. It will also make it very very difficult for an identity thief to open a new account.

If your card company allows it, place a password on your account instead of having them verify your mother's maiden name.

Pull your credit report yearly.

As for prevention of credit card/account fraud/identity theft/etc etc:

Don't give identifying information over the phone to people claiming to be banks/cc companies unless you've called them at a number you're sure is theirs. We give you information ("Did you make a charge at Best Buy today for $1,829.76?") and will never ask you to tell us social security numbers and whatnot unless you've called us. If you ever are unsure about a call you received being your actual credit card company, politely end the call and call the number on the back of your card.

What you're experiencing isn't identity theft, but it's scary nonetheless.

There is no surefire way to 100% protect all of your information. I'm very careful with mine, and recently had fraud on my Discover card (someone counterfeited my card and charged a bunch in Missouri. I'm in New York and have never been to MO). Their detection unit was quite amused when I told them I worked in fraud as well :P

Be cautious, don't give your personal information to anyone over the phone unless you're sure who you're talking to, and monitor your account statements. We likewise don't give out credit card numbers or a number of other things over the phone. Go for paperless statements if you can to prevent someone from intercepting your mail (and save a tree!).

Um, that's about it off the top of my head. Even if you don't do any of the things I usually recommend to my cardholders experiencing fraud, you'll still probably be fine.
posted by Verdandi at 7:12 PM on September 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Somebody once stole my credit card number and used it to buy expensive tschotschkes from the U.S. Mint. The only long-term consequence was that, for about a year, the U.S. Mint sent me a lot of junk mail.
posted by escabeche at 8:16 PM on September 17, 2009


You can put a fraud alert flag on your credit reports so that if anyone tries to open new credit in your name, you get called at the number you indicated when you placed the flag. Pull your credit reports once a year (www.annualcreditreport.com).

I don't think you need to worry too much. This happened to me twice two years ago (shady restaurants, I think). After the initial headache, nothing else ever came from it.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2009


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