What should you do if you're (almost) a victim of identity theft?
November 23, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I think I was (almost) a victim of identity theft. What should I do next?

I received an SMS from AT&T last week saying the authorized user of my account had changed. I haven't made any changes to my account, so I called them immediately.

The AT&T customer rep said someone called pretending to be me, gave them my name and the last four digits of my social security number and added someone else to the account (he gave me the name that was added) with the ability to make changes to that account. When I said those changes were not authorized by me, he removed the user from the account and asked me to add a PIN code for security. He said he would keep an eye on the account for any activity and call me later. He did call me later, and reported someone tried to access the account again, but was blocked by the PIN code

I am unsure what to do next. The AT&T customer rep didn't (or couldn't) say anything about reporting this. Should I involve the authorities? If yes, who?
posted by gertzedek to Law & Government (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
- Place a 90-day fraud alert by calling one of the three credit bureaus such as TransUnion, 1-800-680-7289. (See Question 8 below for other numbers.)
- Monitor your credit reports. Each fraud alert entitles you to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. In addition you are entitled to order free reports annually from each of the credit bureaus by calling 1-877-322-8228.
- If you have evidence of actual or attempted identity theft, file a police report. Once you have the report, you can extend the 90-day fraud alert to 7 years.
- If fraudulent credit accounts have been opened in your name, contact the credit issuers to close the fraudulent accounts
- Consider freezing your credit reports (not available in all states). To see if a security freeze is available in your state, go to: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html
Report the identity theft incident to the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Clearinghouse, 1-877-438-4338.
- Report fraud on existing accounts to your bank or credit card company.

from - https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17d-FAQ-IdTheft-070510.htm#1
posted by quodlibet at 3:15 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

The method of validation using the last 4 digits of SSN is really crappy security; yet many merchants use it. At this point, you should assume that your name and last 4 of your SSN is in the hand of some thief. Think of all other accounts that use this method of validation and contact them to change your PIN. These usually are account where they extend you small amount of credit (such as the phone bill: AT&T extend the credit to you in the form of subsidize phone cost and/or monthly phone bill until you pay. Also Blockbluster / rental type services).

If you think that your entire SSN + address is stolen, then you should lock down your SSN at the credit bureaus. This cost money (see http://www.bad-credit-advisor.com/2008/09/credit-report-freeze-locking.html) and it will prevent others from obtain credit in your name (like get a credit card on your SSN).

If you are super paranoid that even your current credit card / credit line are compromised, then contact the card issuers and ask for a replacement card. Buy antivirus software and scan your computer; then change your online banking passwords.

Finally, double check all your bills for the next few months and report problems.
posted by curiousZ at 3:22 PM on November 23, 2011

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