I had my identity stolen recently. It happened like this: I opened a PayPal account at the end of March, then when I requested a copy of my credit report a month later, someone had opened a credit card that same day. They used my maiden name, Social Security number, and date of birth, but the credit card company told me the email address they gave was different than mine, and their mailing address was in Pennsylvania. That is all they would tell me, except that there were charges on the credit card that I would not be responsible for, and they would close the account immediately. I reported it to the credit report agency, and they sent me a new credit report with that credit card removed. Richard Bonomo said I should report it to the police as well, so I started with the city of my mailing address. They said it was not their jurisdiction, and I was in the school district of another town, so report it to them. I did, and they told me I don’t actually live in their jurisdiction either but in a small township (which I already kind of knew) so I’d have to report it to the county sheriff, which I did. They called me and told me to report it to an internet crime website, so I did that. I also called PayPal and said it seemed like an inside job, since an employee of theirs would have had access to my information when I opened the account with them. Either that, or their online encryption is terrible. They denied that either thing was possible. So far I am not out any money, and my credit rating should be protected, but someone out there has all my personal information. Now there is some kind of hold on my record, so if I try to open a new line of credit, there will be all kinds of hoops to jump through. But hopefully those hoops would stop anyone posing as me.
I am not alone in having problems. My office is small, maybe twenty people, and at least two of them submitted their income tax returns this year just to be told that someone had already submitted one using their Social Security number. The joke’s on whoever did it, because they undoubtedly wanted their income tax returns, but both these people ended up owing. Still, someone is getting a hold of people’s Social Security numbers. It is very scary.