Author Topic: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud  (Read 3111 times)

Case

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how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« on: September 14, 2016, 07:23:10 AM »
I have a credit monitoring service that was provided to me for free when my workplace's computer system was compromised.  I'm sure many of you have had a similar thing happen at some point.

Anyways, via this monitoring service I received a notification yesterday that a credit card was opened in my name at Chase.  I have no open Chase cards and did not do this.  I tracked it down, had Chase close it as a fradulent application, and put a credit alert on my name via Equifax.  Chase wouldn't give me much information about the application, but did indicate that my SS# was used; they are performing and investigation and will get back to me.

I have two questions:

1.  With regards to this particular event, is there anything else I should do to ensure the safety of my credit/money/identity, etc...?  I have read that I could file a police report and then try to get an extended (7 year) credit alert placed with the credit agencies.

2.  Generally as a mustachian with a reasonable sized stache in progress, what should all of us be doing to protect our futures?  This is particularly in response to the risk of identity theft, having accounts hacked, insurance to cover worst-case-scenarios, etc...

Thanks!
Case

Joggernot

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 07:49:08 AM »
I, too, had this happen, so I sent each credit company a letter explaining the fraud and placed a hold/block on my credit. You can do this by phone or online now, but might have to follow-up in writing.  No one can look at my credit report unless I authorize it with a special number in writing.  I have had this in place for at least 10 years and the pre-approved credit cards have dropped significantly.  It does make it difficult for me to get a new card or to get credit for a large item, but a simple, notarized letter releases the report for 30 days (or the time period I specify) so I can get the item.

I still have the alerts for any amount over $300, new card opened, etc. that everyone else has.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 07:49:51 AM »
This reminds me to look at my Mint transactions for the past few months. That's usually where I notice stuff that doesn't belong.

A problem I've had is on the credit card my work issues me - I knew I hadn't expensed anything and so I didn't look at it, but somebody charged several thousand dollars to stores in Las Vegas on it one day. I caught it in time that I didn't have to pay anything, but it was a close call. There's not much that can substitute for vigilance.

Spork

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 08:13:24 AM »

The advice I have heard/read from various security/banking folk is: freeze your credit accounts at all 3 credit reporting agencies.  The cost is between $3-10 PER AGENCY for freezing and thawing.  The pain here is that when you do want credit, you will have to again pay to thaw it... and then to refreeze it when your new credit is established.

Warning: While I think this is probably a really good idea, I have not followed my own advice.  It's one of those things I have intended to do and haven't.  It's been years since I have gotten a new credit card/loan/etc, so I am probably the perfect target audience for this advice.

catccc

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 08:22:56 AM »
I watch my accounts/transactions pretty closely, so I'm not too worried about fraudulent charges on accounts I already have...  but that is worrisome that some people have new accounts opened in their names, with paperwork going to an address they choose, etc.

I do use credit karma and credit sesame and look at them once a month, so I would see new inquiries, I think.  So that is one thing you can do, monitor your credit report at a free site and watch for unfamiliar inquiries.  That doesn't cover soft pulls, though, like if someone tries to open a checking or savings account in your name that doesn't require a hard pull.

Case

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 08:31:09 AM »

The advice I have heard/read from various security/banking folk is: freeze your credit accounts at all 3 credit reporting agencies.  The cost is between $3-10 PER AGENCY for freezing and thawing.  The pain here is that when you do want credit, you will have to again pay to thaw it... and then to refreeze it when your new credit is established.

Warning: While I think this is probably a really good idea, I have not followed my own advice.  It's one of those things I have intended to do and haven't.  It's been years since I have gotten a new credit card/loan/etc, so I am probably the perfect target audience for this advice.

I guess the freeze is different from putting a fraud alert on your account?  The fraud alerts are free I think.

I could do this.... I was doing some credit card churning a couple years ago, but haven't in a while.  Obviously this would make that more cumbersome but that's the trade-off for more safety!

Spork

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2016, 08:52:50 AM »

The advice I have heard/read from various security/banking folk is: freeze your credit accounts at all 3 credit reporting agencies.  The cost is between $3-10 PER AGENCY for freezing and thawing.  The pain here is that when you do want credit, you will have to again pay to thaw it... and then to refreeze it when your new credit is established.

Warning: While I think this is probably a really good idea, I have not followed my own advice.  It's one of those things I have intended to do and haven't.  It's been years since I have gotten a new credit card/loan/etc, so I am probably the perfect target audience for this advice.

I guess the freeze is different from putting a fraud alert on your account?  The fraud alerts are free I think.

I could do this.... I was doing some credit card churning a couple years ago, but haven't in a while.  Obviously this would make that more cumbersome but that's the trade-off for more safety!

Yes, fraud alerts and freezes are different.

And yes, freezes are not a good method for churners.  You're potentially looking at $30 to thaw and another $30 to re-freeze.  You may very well eat much of your churn profits this way.

On the other hand: your risk of someone getting your personally identifiable information (PII) is proportional to the number of places you store PII.  In other words: there is some inherent amount of extra risk in churning.  A guy with 2 bank accounts and 2 credit cards just doesn't have the same risk exposure as a guy with 2 bank accounts and 300 credit cards.  That said: the churners probably should be (slightly) more concerned about credit fraud.  It's also a little more difficult to spot the rogue credit account in your credit report if your report is extremely long.  Even with my very short list of accounts, it's sometimes difficult to identify some oddball account from 5 years ago.  Lots of store credit cards are not listed as "Home Depot" but instead as "XYZ Bank".

frugaliknowit

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2016, 09:40:47 AM »
I keep my credit at all 3 bureaus "frozen".  When I want new credit, I always ask the bank I am applying to which of the 3 credit bureaus they use for the app.   It is really helpful to ask, as it can save you $20 when you want to unfreeze (it's $10 per bureau).  The answers will be one of the following:

1.  We check all 3.
2.  We only check X (Transunion, Experian, or Equifax).
3.  It's random.  Go ahead and fill out an app, then we can tell you which, then you can unfreeze that one and provide us a code.

In the case of 2 and 3, you unfreeze only the one bureau for only $10.

Yankuba

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2016, 11:48:36 AM »
1. I froze my credit as others have recommended. You have to unfreeze it to get a new credit card or loan (e.g. mortgage)
2. I pay a couple of bucks a month for LifeLock - a monitoring service and my employer gave me a membership to a different monitoring service
3. I set up challenge questions with my banks and brokerage firms - when you call in for service you get asked a personal question that you set up - something a fraudster wouldn't know
4. I turned on email alerts for all my banks - any money in or out of the account and I get an email
5. Vanguard sends me email confirmations for any trades or money movements
6. I use an RSA token for my main bank account (2 factor authentication)

You can also use two factor authentication for your email accounts, Facebook, etc.

I think Vanguard is now doing something with voice recognition but I didn't sign up for it

Trudie

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2016, 03:06:21 PM »
Good advice above.  Freeze your credit is at the top of my list.  I had to do it with all three agencies after someone filed a fraudulent tax return with my SSN.

Check to see if your state allows you to get a credit freeze for free if you have been a victim of fraud.  My state did.

Other good steps were listed here, but put an extended fraud alert on all your accounts immediately, then move quickly to get the paperwork in place to freeze it.

You may also want to check with your bank or homeowner's insurance company to see if they have a benefit to you to help you through this.  My bank provided access to a free service that helps in cases of identity theft and they monitored my credit for free while I was resolving the issue.

BrickByBrick

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 04:51:27 PM »
As others have said, freeze your credit.

I have frozen my credit at all the major agencies (Equifax/Transunion/Experian) plus another one most people forget about - Innovis.

Innovis isn't a big player in the credit card world but they do have a growing business dealing with your history of mortgages/loans/misc. consumer practices.  I figured it couldn't hurt to freeze that as well and so far it hasn't.

True if you're a credit card churner freezing is just going to be a PITA.  I'm not, so it doesn't bother me. 

Whenever you need to allow someone to run a credit report (at the major 3) it's easy to call their helpline numbers or go online and have a temporary credit freeze lift put in place for a specific period of time, usually takes just a few minutes.  You just need to remember to write down your special PINs from each of them.  It's helpful to have their helpline numbers on your phone's contacts as well.

The only annoying problem I've run into is when I need to allow someone to run a credit check but they refuse to tell me which agency they're going to use.  Normally I escalate and ask to speak to their manager who usually tells me, but sometimes they steadfastly refuse, forcing me to temporarily unfreeze at all three agencies - very annoying.  I understand why they do that, but you would think they would give loyal customers a pass.

YMMV

Bicycle_B

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2016, 05:20:19 PM »
I'm assuming that any password you have on your workplace's computer system is different from those that you use in your  private financial accounts (savings, investments, banking, credit).  But if there's overlap, obviously this is a good time to change your private passwords.

Jack

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 05:42:39 PM »
I am offended by the whole "credit freeze" whole process -- it's a goddamn racket! (Literally, that's what a protection racket actually is: "pay us or something bad might happen to you" where in this case, "something bad" would be the credit reporting agencies libeling you.)

It boggles my mind that credit reporting agencies are legally allowed to exist.

Rural

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 05:56:43 PM »
We're frozen at the big three,and you don't have to pay to unfreeze and referee separately - you can instead suspend the freeze for a length of time you specify and only pay once. Did this to get the chase Sapphire, probably about to do it again for the Reserve.

Trudie

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Re: how to handle fraud and risk of fraud
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2016, 10:58:04 AM »
I am offended by the whole "credit freeze" whole process -- it's a goddamn racket! (Literally, that's what a protection racket actually is: "pay us or something bad might happen to you" where in this case, "something bad" would be the credit reporting agencies libeling you.)

It boggles my mind that credit reporting agencies are legally allowed to exist.

I hear you, but at least in some states if you are a victim of fraud you can get the service for free.