If you GIVE a THIEF A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER........

By
Real Estate Agent with Bend River Realty Inc.

Based on the successful children's novel "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie"..... If you give a mouse a cookie bookcover

I have a friend who does daycare. One of her clients is a grandmother who is the sole custodian of her granddaughter.

At the end of the year, my friend (a sole proprietor) sent a 1099 form to her client who inadvertently left it on her table..... when the mother of the child came for a visit and .....took the Social Security number and name listed on the 1099 back home with her to the valley..... where she opened a Fred Meyer credit card in the amount of $8,000 and with an APR of 22.99%. She of course put in a false address and ....goes what else ?........ shopping.

My friend goes to refinance her home... when the loan officer tells her......"there's a problem. You have a seriously delinquent account on your credit report". My friend's impeccable credit history has been marred and is now preventing her from refinancing her home. She begins the long, somewhat difficult process of getting this unauthorized account removed from her credit. She calls the police..... they start the investigation, they stall.... she calls, she writes, one agency and then the next.....  when finally, one year later, she gets Fred Meyer and all three reporting agencies to remove the account from her report. In the meantime.........

It gets better....... my friend's credit card "B" had a universal default rate clause. Ever hear of one of those? A universal default rate says that company B can raise your interest rate if you default on any other credit card obligation, including company A (in this case, Fred Meyer).  For my friend, this became the worst of all scenarios as her credit report became a consumer and loan officers worst nightmare.

Now, she not only had to prove that she was unjustly the victim, she also had to prove to her creditors that she did not "DO" anything to warrant the "universal default rate" charges being imposed to her account. Credit card company B then had to "try" and remove the interest upon interest charges now added to her account balance. YIKES! All in all, it took 2 years to undo the damage done and bring the responsible party to justice. She is now finally able to proceed with refinancing her home, although at a higher rate than she could have secured two years ago. 

Cartoon ThiefWOW........ as I have said before, protect your identity and your social security number at all costs. People are desperate and there are those that will not blink an eye when manipulating someone elses  identity. A mistake, even one you are not aware of (or responsible for)  .... can be costly. Be careful out there and check your credit report annually.

 

Note: For those of you unaware, you are entitled to ONE free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. To get yours, click on https://www.annualcreditreport.com and sign up today.

Comments (12)

Rebecca Schrader
Competitive Insurance of Dundee - Dundee, FL

This is quite unfortunate...and it takes FOREVER to resolve...we see this way too often when folks come in to apply for a mortgage loan...they are simply unaware that their identity has been stolen...and then IT BEGINS...the long, drawn out struggle to reclaim your credit standing...

It is so important to protect your social security number...the elderly fall prey to this all the time.

Sep 24, 2008 02:03 AM
Kelli Fronabarger
Bend River Realty Inc. - Bend, OR
Realtor - Bend Oregon

So true Rebecca and many elderly just DO NOT REALIZE the potential damage that can be done by someone who "steals" your indentity. Another note to the unsuspecting, do not throw out your mail or anything that has your name and mailing address on it. Invest in a shredder or burn these types of documents : )

Sep 24, 2008 02:08 AM
Mary Bowen
Coldwell Banker United, Realtor - The Woodlands, TX
Real Estate At Its Finest!!!

Wow. what a mess. And some people still put there SS number on there personal checks.

Sep 24, 2008 02:34 AM
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Kelli, what a scary and awful thing to have happened.  I know sending out those 1099 can be scary and you really do have to have some faith and trust that the person will regard your information.  Great advice about the credit report - most people forget to check it and don't realize by law we are entitled to 1 free report each year.  I hope it all works out for your friend.   Thank you! ~ Anne Marie

Sep 24, 2008 02:42 AM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Ellicott City, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

Very unfortunate, but in todays age you can't trust anyone and everyone is out to get something for nothing - or at least you have to assume that.  I have 3 people in my office who have had their identities stolen in the last 3 months.

Sep 24, 2008 02:48 AM
Greg Knowles Santa Barbara Ca.
Fidelity National Title Group-Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, CA

That is a pretty remarkable story Unfortunately, it probably happens all the time. I appreciate the warning and advice.

Sep 24, 2008 05:16 AM
Fred Chamberlin
Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA - Oak Harbor, WA
Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant

Kelli, you are so right to warn people about identy theft. It continues to be the number one crime in the US today. Protect yourself, safeguard your information.

Sep 24, 2008 09:32 AM
Tony and Libby Kelly
Keller Williams Realty Portland Premiere - Lake Oswego, OR
CRS, ABR, ePro, SRES, CLHMS, CDPE

Wow that is awful!!!  I manage to shread most of my stuff but not 100% of the time.  I tell myself that no one would want MY information, that I don't have enough to bother with.  But really, it doesn't take much and it is SO easy to get a new credit card.  I need to remind myself to keep track of my paperwork EVERYTIME!

Sep 24, 2008 10:17 AM
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Kelli--What a terrible story! And people wonder why I refuse to give out my SS#. BTW many insurance companies now offer an identity theft protection rider which will assist you with the process of clearing your name if this happens to you. We added the protection to our homeowner's policy and the cost was very reasonable.

Sep 25, 2008 12:45 AM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

WOW, Kelli- This is so scary and terrible! What kind of person does something like this to another! I just could not hurt someone else like this. I hope they find that person, although, the damage is done, that time can never be replaced either. Countrywide wrote my son a letter saying that one of thier employess sold my son's info to someone! You just don't know if your identity is ever safe.

Sep 27, 2008 04:00 PM
Kari Battaglia, PA
Veterans Realty Inc - Venice, FL
Love Where You Live

Sorry to hear that your friend had to go through the nightmare of identy theft.  I don't understand why there are not harsher penalties for those caught and why the victums are treated like they were the ones who committed the crime. 

Sep 27, 2008 06:12 PM
Bryan Schroeder
Equity Generation - Salem, OR

That is why I am a member of Life Lock

Nov 25, 2008 06:57 PM