PSA: Fraud and Identity Theft

It’s been a few years now since this last happened, but once again Moe Ron in Unnamed Nearby City tried to apply for a credit card using my social security number, name and other information. I got the call from my credit card company’s Fraud Protection Department last night because Moe Ron applied for a credit card with a company that already knew me. The company gave me a fax number to give the police when I filed my police report so that the credit card company could in turn fax them the subpoena with Moe Ron’s address and other information to help bust the perp (that is, Moe Ron) in short order.

I called the local police department last night to ask if I should come in right away or if it could wait until the morning.

The police officer on the phone informed me that a crime hadn’t been committed unless the person actually got a credit card and had started destroying my credit.

I said YEAH there’s been a crime and YEAH it’s reportable. When someone uses your SSN to apply for credit, it’s called FRAUD. And that, last time I checked, was a crime.

She continued to contradict me. I then told her I’d been through this before. Twice. I know the procedure. She explained, well, then Miss Smartypants (not her exact words but definitely her tone) you need to bring in “documentation” proving that someone tried to use your SSN and name to apply for credit.

I explained that the credit card company would fax them the appropriate “documentation” once I filled out a police report. It was silly to wait for a letter from my credit card company.

Exasperated, I hung up, called Faust and yelled for about an hour. She very patiently and kindly listened until I was too wrung out to curse and complain any longer.

This morning, I dragged The Frenchman with me to the police station, where the stupid pills had apparently worn off. They took my report, gave me copies of the final, and told me detectives would call me within two weeks.

If any police officer tells you that it’s not a crime for someone to use your name and SSN to apply for credit, ask to speak to their supervisor. They are at best misinformed, at worst lazy and ignorant. No matter what, they’re definitely WRONG.

Incidentally, I sent an email to the Chief of Police about how uneducated and unprofessional that officer was about fraud. Hopefully he’s been taking his blood pressure medication. And in the meanwhile, I’ve added a fraud alert to all three major credit organizations through Equifax and I’ve purchased their credit protection.

And that’s the end of this public service announcement.

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