The day before I was set to go away on vacation, I received an odd call from the fraud department of my credit card company. Being suspicious, I shrugged it off. After all, the night before, I checked my account on line and saw nothing other than the charges I made. Curiosity got me wondering, so I called the number on my credit card. What follows is what happened next.
Someone apparently stole my number and made many charges. The credit card company reversed most of them for certain days. When I checked my account after I returned, I found three more fraudulent charges. The only reason why I checked so soon after getting back was a letter I received from LifeLock (how is that for irony? A thief stole my number and then enrolled me in a monitoring service). The letter welcomed me and thanked me for signing up. I called them to reverse the charges, along with the other companies.
I also called my credit card company and wrote to them to dispute the charges. You must dispute fraudulent charges in writing for the dispute to have meaning under federal law. Everything worked out and the charges were reversed. The companies also credited my account by reversing the charges. My account was corrected, or so I thought.
I received two credit reports in the mail. By itself, that was not unusual. I requested that my information not be disclosed to marketing companies. The credit reports showed my name and address, but the wrong social security number and birthdate. I was flattered to be almost 10 years younger, but nervous about the wrong information.
THE CREDIT REPORTS
I ordered all three credit reports. Using annualcreditreport.com requires consent to arbitration. Since I sue companies for a living, arbitration makes me uneasy. I called 877-FACT-ACT and received all three reports. Everything was normal. I still have no explanation for why the reports has wrong information at first, but everything seems fine now. I will be cautious for a while, but so far, everything has been resolved from this theft.
The next step is to put temporary and then permanent fraud alerts on my credit report. Fraud alerts require extra steps to get credit, but that is a small price to pay to protect myself from identity thieves. I am just thankful that I have an alert credit card company.