ID Intensive: Pain Relief for Identity TheftJanuary 19, 2018
Taylor* is a MyIDCare member in California. He says he “didn’t think too much about it” when he received a letter from a healthcare provider saying his personal information had been part of a data breach. But the letter offered MyIDCare coverage, including email alerts if his credit reports changed, and after a couple of months, he dug out the letter on his desk and signed up. When those alerts showed he had been a victim of identity theft, he found himself thankful for that decision. Here’s his story.
“In 2015, I received a letter saying my info had been part of a data breach and offering protection, including fraud alerts, from MyIDCare. The letter stayed on my desk for a couple of months, but the fraud alerts seemed like a good idea so, in October, I decided to log in and sign up.
Sure enough, sometime in December, I got an alert that my credit had changed. I logged in and saw at least one credit card account in my name that I had never heard of before. I was extremely nervous and upset, so I called MyIDCare.
The MyIDCare intake specialist helped me figure out what bank had issued the card. She found out there were two other cards, and the initial one had a balance of $7,000. They were store credit cards for a sporting goods and outdoor store in the Southeast. Fortunately, the other two were still in the approval phase.
She gave me the telephone number of the bank. The man there walked me through the credit cards that had been taken out in my name, and I found out there were at least three others. They canceled all the ones that had no balance, but the $7,000 one had to go through their claims process. I also had to report the theft to the police department. MyIDCare gave me a case number and the credit card company added it to their claim information.
With my recovery advocate Mary’s help, I was able to get all of the false accounts taken off my credit history within six months. I got a letter from the credit card issuer saying they had concluded that I was not responsible for this charge and had filed requests with the credit agencies to remove it from my record. Then, in February, Mary alerted me that a new problem had popped up. An equipment leasing company in Massachusetts had issued an almost $30,000 equipment lease on my credit. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that one. The thief had used an address where I lived nearly 20 years ago. We disputed it, and quickly got a letter saying that they had closed the account and notified the credit bureaus to take the lease off my credit history.
Altogether, my credit was under siege for about six months. You hear stories about it taking years to recover from identity theft, so I’m just very glad I had people who know what they’re doing to guide me through the process. MyIDCare was great, from that first person who helped me locate the credit card issuer and contact the police, to Mary, my recovery advocate who called me right away and worked with the credit bureaus on my behalf.
Looking back, I was surprised at how much time recovery can take, and what a difference it makes to have expert help. Just the first steps—going to the police for an official statement, getting my statement notarized, and sending it off to the bank—were time-consuming, but then I could hand the rest off to Mary. In view of what other people have gone through, my recovery was quick and painless. I’m grateful that it didn’t take two or three years.
The first thing I would tell other people is that, if they get an offer for identity monitoring or recovery service, sign up for it right away. If I hadn’t done it when I did, I wouldn’t have known about the identity theft until the accounts had gone to collections and my credit was in the tank. The alerts are so important, and so is having caring, expert help if something goes. I can’t say enough good things about Mary, my recovery advocate. She was well informed, and I found her and the MyIDCare team to be great partners in restoring my identity. I felt like I mattered to them.