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Old 01-27-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
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Cautionary Tale

Yesterday, I was hit by a suspected identity thief. The vile miscreant, pretending to be a State Farm Insurance agent, called me up and asked for some information so that they could send me a quote on auto insurance. I thought little of it; being a new owner of a new RV, I fully expected insurance agents to come crawling out of the woodwork.

However, the last question asked by the "agent" was my driver's license number. Weird, so I asked what they need it for, and he said it was to verify my driving record. Like an idiot, I gave it to him since the story made some sense.

I thought better of it less than five minutes later, and tried to call back at the telephone number showing on my caller ID— a local number, by the way. The number was already disconnected, just five minutes after the call. That's when I immediately suspected an identity thief; the displayed number was either false or hacked.

I immediately jumped through hoops to minimize the potential damage:
  • Contacted the local FBI office to report the incident;
  • Contacted the three credit bureaus to put a voluntary 90-day freeze on all new credit applications (which supposedly doesn't hurt my credit score since it's by my own request);
  • Contacted the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles to report the incident since the suspected ID thief had specifically asked for my driver's license number;
  • Contacted the US Postal Service to request that no forwarding orders or change of address be accepted for the same 90-day period as the credit freeze, though mail held for pickup is okay;
  • Created a new e-mail account, and ruthlessly culled my old e-mails to see what to forward to the new account and what to discard. The old e-mail account is now completely empty;
  • Began contacting all of the companies and individuals that I deal with electronically to disseminate my new e-mail address, and change a few of my less secure passwords while I was at it. Still in the process of completing this, but got the ones that handle money taken care of first— bank, PayPal, etc.
I think I acted quickly enough to forestall the theft, but only time will tell. And I'm now giving serious consideration to enrolling in Lifelock in spite of the expense.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:21 PM   #2
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I think I acted quickly enough to forestall the theft, but only time will tell. And I'm now giving serious consideration to enrolling in Lifelock in spite of the expense.

DO IT.

You can always drop it later. What a pain in the neck, but just do it.


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Old 01-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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It is a crazy, crazy world we live in.

You always have to be on guard. I hate it.


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Old 08-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #4
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Wow!
Thanks for posting your experience.

It shows that any of us can be tripped up by a smooth talking vile miscreant.

And thanks for sharing tips on how to handle such an incident.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:45 PM   #5
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In 2006 my identity was hijacked. They went to town buying and applying- all in California. Then two years ago I was in St. Augustine for a Airstream vacation and suddenly in Pompano people were buying gift cards on my Visa credit number at Home Depot- $1400 worth before being stopped. I was told they had scanned my card on my trip and that the mdse was purchased with a keyed in number pretense as the fake card was not readable. They asked if the card ever left my sight. It did twice, in restaurants.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:43 PM   #6
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In 2006 my identity was hijacked. They went to town buying and applying- all in California. Then two years ago I was in St. Augustine for a Airstream vacation and suddenly in Pompano people were buying gift cards on my Visa credit number at Home Depot- $1400 worth before being stopped. I was told they had scanned my card on my trip and that the mdse was purchased with a keyed in number pretense as the fake card was not readable. They asked if the card ever left my sight. It did twice, in restaurants.
I won't let the card out of my sight for that reason alone. Some pimply faced bus boy and wait staff in tandem can hack a lot of card numbers in the back room at a dining establishment alone.

Be careful out there!
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:29 AM   #7
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Thank you Protagonist, good looking out. Just goes to so we cannot be too careful. Great follow up and great advice for all of us.


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Old 08-24-2014, 05:33 AM   #8
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How do you pay with a card in a restaurant if you do not let the card leave your sight? Like to know. Jim
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:39 AM   #9
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A similar thing happened to us about 10 years ago. We have adopted a cash only policy at restaurants. It takes a bit of practice but (knock on wood) no other issues.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Zig,

Virtually all restaurants now bring a mobile terminal to your table. Almost all filling stations use Pay At The Pump. At least this is the case were I live and travel.

Beware of those that don't?

Also, Consumers Report and others say that LIFELOCK is charging consumers $120 a year for stufff that they can easily do by themselves. Look it up.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:55 AM   #11
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Zig,

Virtually all restaurants now bring a mobile terminal to your table.
We eat out quite a bit in the Portland/vancouver area and have never seen this done. We've also never had a problem.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:04 AM   #12
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Virtually all restaurants now bring a mobile terminal to your table.
Really? I wonder what that would be like, because I have never been in a restaurant that uses portable terminals.

But in the real world, even at a restaurant that would normally take your card at your table and bring it back to your table, you can still ask to go go with the server to where they run the card. I've done that a few times so I could watch them swipe the card through the machine. Sure, the server may think I'm paranoid, but that's only because I am paranoid.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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Oh man, does that stink. I'm really sorry to hear about your problem. I bet you've caught it in time, and can let your guard back down just a little.

I can empathize with you as I do most of my shopping via the internet, and I've had my credit card information stolen five times in the last four years. It is a pain, but nothing like what you've just had to go thru.

You can't really count on any caller id being legitimate since they are easily spoofed. I once received a questionable phone call on my home phone number from my home phone number!

Thanks for reminding all of us to stay alert.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:35 AM   #14
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One thing we have been doing is to get money cards (the new travelers checks). You just load them with money, and they are accepted like a VISA card. When traveling abroad or locally, you are never using a credit card. We get them at our credit union.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:53 AM   #15
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It's a Canadian thing. Europe has it too. Will be phased into US in the next few years. Will be good news. Jim
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:47 AM   #16
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WOW. Can the American banking system really be this far behind the rest of the world ??

I haven't seen the old fashioned, sliding, hand operated credit card imprinter here for several years now, neither in the largest cities nor in the smallest towns.

Terminals are everywhere. They either DEBIT your bank account or charge your CREDIT CARD. They are everywhere including the self-serve check outs at Home Depot, your grocery chain, everywhere: the dentists office, at the pump, Starbucks, restaurants fast and slow, your auto dealership, on and on. The only exceptions are the occasional rare place that does not accept credit cards, cash only.

The latest wrinkle is that you merely TAP your card as you pass through the line at a coffee shop or grocer.

I was in Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea for 2 moths last winter. Same thing there, even in Ho Chi Min City or Hanoi. SEOUL, of course, is the most wired place on earth. People there tap a terminal with their CELL PHONE as they board a bus or subway ( There are 357 subway stops in Seoul!). They do that at STARBUCKS too.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:11 AM   #17
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The latest wrinkle is that you merely TAP your card as you pass through the line at a coffee shop or grocer.

I was in Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea for 2 moths last winter. Same thing there, even in Ho Chi Min City or Hanoi. SEOUL, of course, is the most wired place on earth. People there tap a terminal with their CELL PHONE as they board a bus or subway ( There are 357 subway stops in Seoul!). They do that at STARBUCKS too.
Great technology, especially for hackers. Now they can pick your pocket electronically without even getting into your pocket. See, for example,

Hacking in the Far East 7: Too-Near Field Communication | Privacy PC

Of course, I'm an old fuddy-duddy who doesn't even enable Bluetooth on my smartphone.

Now, as always, eternal vigilance is the price of not getting ripped off.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:49 AM   #18
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Really? I wonder what that would be like, because I have never been in a restaurant that uses portable terminals.

But in the real world, even at a restaurant that would normally take your card at your table and bring it back to your table, you can still ask to go go with the server to where they run the card. I've done that a few times so I could watch them swipe the card through the machine. Sure, the server may think I'm paranoid, but that's only because I am paranoid.
Chili's has them. They're called Kiosk
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:26 PM   #19
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You are gettiung there....

from today's New York Times:


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/op...yt-region&_r=0
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