Are you at Risk of Identity Theft while on Vacation?

Could you be an easy target for Identity Theft?
Do you put your mail on Vacation Hold in the USPS while on vacation?
Do you use the same passwords for multiple accounts?
Do you still use the same online passwords from years ago?
Do you use your full real name on Social Media Sites?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, You ARE an easy target for Identity Theft.
I became a Victim of Identity Theft while I was on vacation, racking up $10,000 in debt.

There are 19 New Victims of Identity Theft Every Minute of Every Day

An approximate 10 million people are victims of identity theft every year. That translates to 19 new victims every minute of every day.

I have had my email hacked before, leaving all of my most important online banking and bill pay and personal emails violated.  Most recently, I didn’t get hacked, I became a Victim of Identity Theft.  Someone used my name, Social Security Number,  & Birthdate to open credit cards while I was on vacation.  I believe it was an employee in the US Post Office where I put my mail on Vacation Hold for months at a time.  They knew I was out of town until the date ending on my Vacation Mail Hold, where they don’t deliver mail to my home but keep it in a bin in the back of the post office.  The thief applied online for the card using my info & created a NEW FAKE gmail account using my name and initials. The new Credit Card arrived while I was still out of town on vacation.

The thief spent $10,000 in one day shopping at Saks Fifth Ave -$500; Bloomingdales – $1450; Apple Store – $2800; Best Buy $2700; $2550 in other stores… and THEN even stopped to get their nails done!  

I realized what had happened when I opened a letter in the mail from Citibank Requesting to Verify the new Account.  Furious and still confused, I called immediately to let them know that this was not me & that I had NEVER opened this account.  The lady at CitiBank assured me that these people are professionals and that they know how to get all this information and then disappear.  I can only imagine that they had stolen other important docs previously seeing how I stop mail about 3-4 times a year for long periods of time.  Luckily I am not responsible for any of this money, but it still leaves a creepy violated feeling.  And to think that the thief might have been a government employee, a USPS worker makes it even worse!

I have since changed my name and birthdate on Social Media Sites.  Be very aware that all of your private information becomes public property as soon as you post it online.  Post selectively.

I contacted Transunion to place a 7 year Fraud Protection alert in my name, free of charge.

I filed complaints with the Social Security Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and with the Postal Inspectors Office.

Be proactive and be aware of your credit history, call the companies below just to see if you are protected.

If you have been a victim of Identity Theft in the USA:
Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report a complaint 1-877-438-4338
Contact the Social Security Office to report a complaint 1-800-772-1213
Contact the Post Office Inspector in Cases of Stolen Mail 1-877-876-2455
Equifax handles credit reporting
Experian handles credit reporting
Transunion can put a 7 year Fraud Alert in your name
Be sure to change your online passwords frequently and never use the same password twice.