Hello there! This is Mouse.
It's such a strange and disturbing feeling knowing that someone out there knows and has been using your identity. At birth you are given a social security number that would identify you the rest of your life and when you're a grown up, you open up credit cards, you apply for loans and open a bank account. You're working and contributing to society and then one day you're told that someone has been impersonating you.
The other day I found out that some terrible person had opened a Verizon account of three lines with three phones. I, of course, immediately called Verizon to have them suspend the account while I applied for a police report. Verizon's customer service have nice people, but their procedures are awful.
First I wasted time with texting a representative because the website told me it would be faster to do so. At the end they had wanted the pin number for the account and I couldn't give it to them and since they couldn't verify it over text; they told me to call it in. I thought to myself, if I knew that I would have just called.
Fortunately, the wait time was short and I ended up with someone from the fraud department. She managed to suspend the account. She revealed that the person had some how shown a recent proof of address, ID and my social security number. I was both shocked and upset. I said to her, that I would have loved to see what they had shown this individual at the Verizon store because they had shown proof of address with my first address. I have since moved three times. How could this document been 'recent'? And what did this ID look like? What social security card did they show if I have mines in a lockable file box?
I wanted to argue this through until she revealed more information to me, but I knew it wasn't her fault. I was upset with whoever approved the account opening. My theory is that they either didn't care to double check things or they knew this person.
I tracked the Verizon number to Key West. Apparently, this person was trying to make things difficult to track. If I was still in Miami, I would have gone to a Verizon store and demanded to know why an employee approved an account with obvious false paperwork. I also would have made them show me the copies they made. I knew this because the fraud department representative told me that all the stores make copies. Don't they have store managers check these things out? It should be part of the procedure to have the store manager approve accounts.
After the phone call, I froze all three of the credit bureaus and applied for a police report and then turn everything in. That was a hassle too because if you make a mistake on the Verizon fraud application you have to start over. I can tell you for a fact that I won't be starting up a Verizon account any time soon. It was easier to file for the police report than the fraud papers.
To add insult to injury, I got an email from the police saying that they weren't even going to bother starting up an investigation. Don't they want to catch this evil person? What if the police had started the investigation and realized that this person was part of a huge group of them and they've been committing fraud for years?
Maybe it's not that simple, but shouldn't it be? If these cell phone companies implemented better fraud detection protocols, wouldn't they be preventing many fraudulent accounts? The fraud representative had told me that this person probably just wanted to get the phones so that they would sell them out in the black market. She made it sound like it was a normal game that these criminals played. Why play it with them?
A tip for all of you, check your credit score every so often, I let that slip for a couple of years; my mistake. And if you can afford it, get some kind of security. Guard yourself - you've worked too hard to let some jerk take advantage of you.