You may be a victim of identity theft and not know it for years.
Most stories of identity theft are about individuals that try to get rich quick by impersonating you, stealing what they can and then go on to their next victim. I know people to whom this has happen. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars and endless months of heartache to repair the situation. We have all heard commercials about how long it takes to restore your identity if someone hits you with a full-blown attack and companies offering one million dollar protection policies to protect you from such violations but there is another form of theft that is more subtle. If you are not paying attention, it could go on for years.
There are crime syndicates that deal in large volumes of information that do things on a more subtle basis. Here is how it works. Suppose I stole fifty thousand bank account or credit card numbers. If I want a steady steam of money over a long period of time then what I do is charge each card for $3.95. I just stole $197,500 and chances are that you won’t notice. So four months from now I do it again. This time I use different company name and a slightly different amount.
Until you complain to your bank and they take the time to fix it I can do it over and over again. Meanwhile, I can get more names and numbers and add then to my list to replace the folks that do catch on to my scam. Since it’s such a small amount of money why should they hurry to correct the problem?
This happened to me and I complained to my bank. They listened attentively and then did nothing. Four months later it happened again and this time I was told that they could not fix it via phone or email (which is how I tried to resolve the problem last time). I was told that only by going in person to the branch could they help.
When I got to the branch, I had to go through the whole thing with the teller who I knew couldn’t help me but I still told my sad tale. She went to get the branch manager. After a time of conferencing and huddling around a computer terminal the branch manager came to speak with me. She told me that the charge was made via my ATM/VISA card; the one ending in XX. (Actual numbers omitted) I said but my card ends with SZ. Then she looked on the sheet of paper in her hand and said yes but there is this other number on your account that is active. As it turns out, the bank had three different card numbers associated with my account. They had my current card, my previous card which was shutoff and a third old number from years ago that had never been shutoff. This third number was the one the thieves were using. I was told that they would refund the money to my account. I’m sure the thieves will be keeping their money and the bank will have to write-off the portion that they refunded to me.
You might want to keep a closer eye on your account so this doesn’t happen to you.
Oh, the fraudulent charges, they were from Byersbooks, a company from New Jersey, that stole $2.95 and Avant Garde LLC, a company from Colorado, that stole $4.99.