Hacked: This time it’s personal …

Though I’ve on the case re: internet tracking, I’ve gotta admit that I’d been pretty cavalier re: identity theft on a personal level.

Not any more.

I’ve been hacked and “thieved”.

And, take it from me, it isn’t pretty.

Computer hacker

 

Here’s what happened and what I’ve learned that might help you


In a nutshell, some bad guys got hold of my ID-info … for sure the easy stuff: name, address, age … some indication that the SS# might have been snagged.

Technical note: I don’t how my info got compromised, but the “events” started soon after I e-filed my tax return … for the very first time.

Coincidence?

A year ago, “they” tried to open store credit card accounts at a couple of places – Best Buy and Aeropostale (really !) … the credit card companies’ fraud systems worked … the applications were rejected and I got letters at my home address notifying me of the rejections.

But, one of my “live” credit accounts was also hacked into online … with a request that a new credit card be issued.

That slipped through the system … but fortunately, the new card was mailed to me … so, after some head-scratching, I was able to figure out what happened and cancel it.

The events freaked me, so I filed a fraud alert with the credit bureaus (more on that later) and signed-up for a LifeLock-like ID guard service.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.

I got emails from the  ID guard service that 2 credit bureaus had received “inquiries” against my credit files.

An inquiry usually signals that a credit application has been submitted.

Hmmm.

Turns out that there was an attempt to apply for a new credit card in my name.  That was stopped.

Ironically, the application was for a VISA Travel Rewards card … that’s ironic since I hate to travel … to me, travel rewards would be more like travel punishments

Also,, one of my existing credit card accounts was hacked online … and, a new card was requested.

It was approved and was in the process of being mailed … again to my address (huh?).

Continuing the ironic twist, this one was a an AMEX Delta Miles card … give me a break, please.

Thanks to the ID guard service and my fast reaction, I was able to cancel the card with no damage.

Finally – I hope – I got notified that RoadLoans.com – an Texas based auto financing outfit that doesn’t even give the option to press 1 for English – got an application in my name for an auto loan.

Again, I was able to head it off at the pass,

Knock on wood, this flurry of cyber fraud against me is over … at least for now.

Basically no harm, no foul … except for the hours it took me to unscrabble the mess … and my lingering elevated pulse rate

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I learned from this fiasco that may help you when it happens to you.

=====

P.S. I’ve concluded that it’s not a matter of “if” … it’s a matter of “when”. 

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One Response to “Hacked: This time it’s personal …”

  1. John Carpenter Says:

    I have also found the credit protection service useful. I use Privacy Guard. It was recommended to me PERSONALLY by Frank Abagnale…look him up. You need separate accounts for each household member.

    Some other tips.

    “Loose” your credit cards at least once a year and have them re-issued with a different number.

    Check into your credit card fraud protection. Most are OK because US law limits user liability. The best ones will stop the fraud in its tracks by using rules to detect fraudulent purchases. My corporate master card account was used to purchase an airline ticket to France. The charge never even showed up as the guy trying to make the charge was still at the Air France counter when the credit card company called me.

    Never ever ever do a credit card or financial transaction over your “smart” phone….ever.

    Never send a credit card number in an e-mail. It is like shouting it down the hall.

    Never allow vendors to store your credit card number for future purchases. They are all subject to multiple hack attempts every day.

    If you use Pay Pal turn on the feature that sends you a text to confirm each charge prior to it being completed.

    When you log on to an important financial site, like your bank, put in the wrong password on the first attempt to see what happens. Lots of sites can be duplicated, but the response from an incorrect password normally looks flakey, or it just freezes.

    Use different passwords for each account you have…that is right, different for every one.

    Expect fraud attempts when you have big financial events like paying off your house mortgage where there is some legal and public government paperwork process…like taxes.

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