Identity Theft

Someone figured out my SSN, name, and address.

For the past four weeks or so I’ve been getting bills from wireless phone companies. It seems this perpetrator walks into Walmarts, signs up for phone plans, and buys phones. They leave the store and Mike DiDonato gets a bill for $300, $600, or $750. Interestingly, the annoyance factor relates more to the phone company of choice than the act of having to call and cancel.

Let’s recap.

AT&T – AMAZING. I called them up, 0 got me an operator, I was transfered to the fraud department where they promptly canceled the bill. They also gave me a phone number to call in order to get my name on a ‘fraud alert’ list. The whole endeavor took maybe 15 minutes.

Verizon – Weak. I tried them on the weekend only to find that their fraud department is only open Mon-Fri 8-5pm EST. When I called them during the week, I had to navigate lengthy menus and ultimately had to leave a message? For a victim of identity theft, leaving a message about a $660 fraudulent charge is not comforting.

T-Mobile – What the crap?!

T-mobile robot: Thanks for calling t-mobile. If you’re calling about your account balanc—
Mike D: 0
T-mobile robot: Okay, we’ll connect you with an operator. But first, if you’d like to talk to the operator about a new account then please press 1, if you’d lik—
Mike D (?!): 0
T-mobile robot: All right. We’ll switch you over to an operator right away. If you’d like to talk to the operator about a new account then —
Mike D (?!?!?!): 0
T-mobile robot: We’re transferring you now.
Operator: Hello, welcome to T-mobile, what is the account number your calling about?
Mike D first gives the necessary information then: So I’d like to cancel the account.
Operator: Ahh, it says here that there’s an alert on your account. So you’ll have to fax your license or passport to our fraud department in order to get your account activated.
Mike D: wait… what? I don’t want to have my account activated. It’s fraudulent. That’s the whole point.
Operator: Well, you’ll have to fax your passport over anyway.
Mike D: That’s kind of ridiculous no? I just want it canceled.
Operator: You can also visit one of our stores.
Mike D: Don’t you have a fraud department? I’d rather just talk to someone and get it canceled now.
Operator: Hold on please.

and t-mobile hangs up on me. This happened twice.
I guess I’ll have to go into the store. T-mobile looses major bonus points for this interaction.

Does anyone have any experience with identity theft? Any recommendations as to ways that I can better secure my credit so that my thief doesn’t start using my SSN for other more notorious schemes?

5 thoughts on “Identity Theft

  • 6/18/2010 at 9:53 am

    I don’t have any advice, but what a downer. Hope you can get this resolved soon!

    • 6/18/2010 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, I too hope this will all be resolved soon.

  • 6/18/2010 at 10:08 am

    While I have had experience with this, unfortunately I don’t have any recommendations for you.

    Paypal was horrible to deal with. After having my entire checking account wiped-out, I had to get a notarized letter stating the purchases weren’t mine. And getting the funds returned was a rather lengthly wait.

    Bank of America was much better. Their systems spotted the suspicious transactions within minutes, emailed me, and put a hold on my account. Dealing with them was fairly easy, getting my funds back rather quickly and the entire process was rather painless, considering.

    • 6/18/2010 at 10:53 am

      I agree with Jason. I think the Banks are little more accustomed to the Fraud thing (BoA called my Cell when someone in Florida tried to spend money there, froze the purchase, refunded the money that was lost and got new cards shipped to shauna and I all in the phone call that they initiated!), whereas the Phone companies just don’t care.

      But alas I can’t offer any tips to protect yourself, other than the normal stuff.
      As for T-Mobile, perhaps a letter written to Catherine Zeta-Jones would help. You would think that as their spokeperson she would like to hear that she is endorsing a substandard company. It might get you a business lunch out of the deal so she can hear how poor your experience was. Just a thought…

  • 6/21/2010 at 11:30 am

    What’s the latest? This is so terrible!


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