January has been fun. And by fun, I mean I’ve been I’ve been enjoying an anxiety-fueled, obsessive flurry of online-sleuthing all weekend, trying to track down the thief who has been attempting to open multiple accounts with my name and social security number. How did they get my info? I do not know! Could it have something to do with my laptop being stolen in Milan? Maybe! Who knows. Frustratingly, I’ll probably never know.
I have been keeping ahead of it. I’ve reported everything. I made a police report. All of my credit cards are frozen. My banks have been alerted and every charge that has come through has been reversed but man, I cannot stop researching this thief! I am obsessed with her. I have a name and I am tracking her down. What I’m going to do with this information? Probably nothing but it does feel good to know all about the thief. She is just as vulnerable as I am at this point. I have her phone number, her address, I’ve even watched her cute 10-year-old kid sing Ariana Grande songs on her youtube channel… what will I do with it? Send her a postcard? I have no idea!
It started on Sunday night. I got a two emails from my credit card company asking me to click on a big red button if such and such charges were not mine. They weren’t of course. I have not used that card for years. I didn’t click on it because my internal email scam alert was going off and I never click on anything from an email. I logged onto my account on my own and sure, enough there were charges there that I didn’t recognize. I called and got them removed.
Then the next day I got a call from Target asking if I was trying to open a credit card. I was not. They denied the account.
Monday night I got a call from Kay Jewelers in Concord, Northern California asking if I would approve a five-thousand-dollar purchase by the thief. I was so caught off guard. I thought the manager was trying to scam me. It took a while to realize she was actually protecting me by double checking on a customer who was in her store trying to use my existing account. She was in the store and had given my address and social security number along with her driver’s license. This is how I got a name. Of course I said no and asked them to report the attempt to the local police. They got a picture of her but couldn’t send it to me for some security reason.
From that point on I’ve had a few inquiries for new accounts, someone tried to set up wifi and a few target.com purchases. Thankfully all of these have been denied. I’ve added new malware protection to my computer and taken to looking at my credit report diligently.
The sad thing is: this is very common. It happens to everyone! How can you protect yourself? I don’t even know.
There are a lot of websites to help fight identity theft but unfortunately because of the government shut down, most of these sites are not working right now. I’m sure the dark web is well aware of this and that might have something to do with the onslaught.
So here I sit, watching my accounts diligently, stalking the one name I have found out (realizing this is probably only one person of many with access to my numbers) and making up new passwords like it’s a creative writing contest. Do you think I should write this thief a postcard with something like, “I’m watching you.” No return address of course. Or maybe I should just let it go. I probably should just let it go.
I would totally let her know you know about her. But maybe talk to a lawyer first? Not sure how to best protect yourself there either…
My husband is an online privacy/security NUT and I’m sure he’d tell you a bunch of stuff but I never remember what he tells me OTHER THAN (ah hah! I remembered one thing!) use privacy.com to get card numbers that you can set rules for (x amount this often, no more than x about, etc.) to pay bills and anything else.
Interesting! I will look into it. Thank you!
Oooh! This makes me so unbelievably mad. My credit card was skimmed at a gas station and it took so much hassle to get things fixed. Months!
P.S. I live in Northern California not too far from Concord if you want a local spy ?
I’m furious on your behalf. Not only is this person- a mom!- a thief, she’s not stealing bread and milk for her kid but trying to pin a 5K jewelry shopping spree on you.
We’ve dealt with identity theft at our house, too, after a data breach that took so much information that it’s scary.
You are doing all the right things. Have you passed the information you have on the thief to her local police? It’s awful to think she’s having the time of her life- or attempting to- on someone else’s dime.
As tempting as it is, I don’t suggest sending any postcards or anything that would be in the least intimidating, as so not to affect any (hopefully) future charges against her.
I hope she’s caught soon. Nobody needs this kind of stress!
Oh my goodness! Just so much wrong with people who do that! Is it desperation, a game, is she actually an unwilling party? Who knows. Without more info, I wouldn’t contact her (as much as I would like to) but trust that the police will do her job. If the jeweler caught her and reported her it could hinder an investigation should you send a card or something. Thank goodness there are good people in the world that did the right thing by calling you. Hope it is resolved sooner rather than later and that it never happens again!
I agree! Contacting her may actually make you more vulnerable. Also, is it possible the name you have is not that of the thief but of another identity theft victim? I’ve never had to deal with these things so I don’t know how likely that is. I’m so sorry this is happening!
OMG what a way to start the New Year I am angry on your behalf! Its appended to Matt, last year, he had to change his passwords for everything twice, made him so miserable. I really feel for you.
Totally bizarre you have managed to track her down to the extent you have (!). She leaves such a paper trial of evidence behind her. What do the police say about her being caught ?( or maybe you can’t say anything ). I would definitely get legal/ police advice before contacting her, you have no idea how she might react at being called out. Galing as it may be. Big hugs xx
Did you ever get a picture sent of the person? Did they contact the police??? They have the thief’s address!!!! This makes me so mad. I know right where that Kay Jewelers is.
There’s a website out here, a local one, where they’ve shown robbers faces before. Would be so well deserved if they had their face splashed on that website. But really the police needs to get them!