How to stop these identity thieves!
December 28, 2011 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Someone is applying for an auto loan using my identity. What now?

I discovered two "hard inquiries" on one of my credit reports. The companies who submitted the inquiries, a car dealership in Georgia and a company that purchases auto loan applications, have been told to remove the inquiries. The credit bureaus have also been notified and a fraud alert note has been placed on my file requiring that any that credit activity be approved by me. What other steps should I take?
posted by anonymous to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report; it may be worth having a look to see what else, if anything, may have snuck on there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on December 28, 2011

I would file a complaint with the FTC (here) and follow the steps they list here as well. It sounds like you have already done or started many of them already, but it helps to have a checklist to make sure you have covered your bases. For example, they suggest you "File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place."
posted by soelo at 12:12 PM on December 28, 2011

Have you called the companies in question to get more details? If you can get a physical description then you may even be able to file a police report. It's certainly worth looking into.
posted by bq at 12:53 PM on December 28, 2011

Security Freeze. Basically, a security freeze is something you do voluntarily so that you have to preapprove any credit checks. When you want to lift or thaw the freeze, you go to the websites of each of the three credit agencies pay ($10 each, I believe) and enter a pin that they send you when you implement the freeze. You can thaw the freeze for a specific creditor or for a period of time. The freeze is automatically re-implemented after the time period you choose expires.

The upside is that no one can apply for credit in your name without you first lifting the freeze. It makes identity theft extremely difficult.

The downside is that lifting the freeze is expensive and you have to keep track of the pin numbers the credit agencies send you. Also, there are a few places (Scottrade being one of them) that can't successfully check your credit even when you lift the freeze.

That being said, I've had it for several years, and though it's probably cost me a certain amount of money and hassle, I don't apply for credit very often, and I really like not having to worry about my identity being stolen.
posted by cnc at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2011

Clarifying the above - no one can apply for credit in your name with a security freeze in place. You *must* lift the freeze to apply for credit at all.
posted by cnc at 2:57 PM on December 28, 2011

Are you certain that they're actually applying with your exact info, or they do not simply have a similar name and SSN? For example, once my husband and I had hell moving to a new apartment because the credit check companies had him confused with a felon with the same first and last name and some similar digits in common in the SSN; the actual felon had a different middle name, was WAY older, and a different race, plus my husband had national security clearances, so this was not terribly difficult to dispute, but it was annoying to wait while they got it sorted out.

What I'm saying is that it's possible that no one actually stole your identify, which would at least be more of a relief; the credit bureaus are surprisingly uncautious about accuracy. In that case you just need to get it sorted with the bureaus. I'm not sure of the extent to which you can ask them whether it was a mix-up or someone actually used your full name, birthdate, SSN, etc, but it's worth looking into in case it can save you some stress and hassle.
posted by Nattie at 9:51 PM on December 28, 2011

Call all three credit companies (equifax, experian, and I think there's another?) and put a "call me if anyone does anything with my credit" notice on your account. Back in 2003 you needed to do this every 30 days but not sure about now.

Basically what cnc says but with a slight difference -- any company that opens any account for you has to telephone you personally and ask you about it first. This way, you get an idea of which companies are doing which things.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:31 AM on December 29, 2011

Consumerist recommends that you freeze your credit report when something like this happens. This puts a security freeze on your identity, to stop anyone taking out credit using your personal details. It also means that you have to take extra steps to change anything. But given the circumstances, I would subscribe to a credit monitoring service like this one at Equifax and freeze your credit report.
posted by Susurration at 8:08 PM on December 29, 2011

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