Staff Articles

An acquaintance recently shared this story with me:

Ken, I have read your articles on identity theft in the past and have taken many of the precautions you have suggested. I take a great deal of pride in knowing about all of the precautions, and said “it could never happen to me, I am too careful.” I would like to tell your readers to take identity theft seriously.

Recently, I was shopping for a television, Internet, phone and cellular service that would meet my needs and hopefully save some money. One of the providers offered me a special promotional package
that gave me more for less and saved me approximately $30 a month. I think you would agree this deal was too good to pass up.

Again, being a smart consumer, I put the service on my credit card so I could get the reward points from the credit card company. The rewards program has been very good to me in the past and by charging
my new service I also got an additional $50 prepaid credit card.

All in all I felt good about the deal. That was until I got a call about a week later from my credit card company inquiring about an unusual charge on my credit card. It was for a plane ticket for someone from Boston to Orlando. I asked whose name was on the ticket and they told me. I assured them that name wasn’t mine. They voided the transaction and credited my account and put an “alert” on the
account.

However, I did recognize the name of the person who was on the ticket. It was the person who I had spent a considerable amount of time with putting together and changing my home communications package.

I immediately called my new provider to inform them of the situation. It was a Saturday and the “fraud
unit” wasn’t in. I called right away the following Monday morning and explained my situation. They
apologized and said they would get back to me. The communications company had subcontracted out
the new subscription service to another company. I thought I was dealing with the “real” company all
along, but that was a poor assumption on my part.

We are in the process of getting it resolved, but I wanted to share this story with you. Everyone really does need to be careful, because it could happen to you. I was just lucky the credit-card company called me. I can only imagine how hard it would be to try to get credit back on my credit card a month after the fact. And because I do some traveling it might have gotten overlooked and paid.

The lessons learned I guess are: 1) never trust anyone, 2) make sure you check you statements, 3)
identity theft is real and can happen to anyone, even though you think you are taking all of the precautions.