Credit Card Fraud

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Jennifer, Apr 14, 2000.

  1. Jennifer

    Jennifer Guest

    My Mother-in-law has had accounts opened in her name all over the country. Not only for credit cards, but utilities as well. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been racked up in her name and social security number, and no one is willing to help her from any agency, credit card company or utility company. They tell her there's nothing she can do, her credit is ruined; she can either pay the bills and rebuild her credit or never have credit again. Does anyone have any advice to offer? Is there really nothing she can do? Why pay them off when more will replace them? And Social Security says she can't change her number or she looses all the social security benefits she has earned throughout her lifetime. Can anyone offer any tips, hints, suggestions???
  2. curiouser

    curiouser Well-Known Member

    First of all, your mother-in-law needs to get a copy of her credit report from all three bureaus and note every account that is not hers (every credit card, every utility company, every apartment, everything.) Second, she needs to send via certified mail return receipt requested a letter to all businesses who have opened accounts explaining the situation. She should request verification of the account by having the business send her a copy of the signed credit application. Third, she needs to file police reports in all cities where accounts have been opened. She can do this by phone. She will have to be persistent and insistent. Fourth, she needs to put a fraud alert in all three of her credit bureau files. This alert can say that no accounts should be opened in her name unless a request for written verification of application has been sent to the address on her credit report and returned from said address.

    Social Security is wrong. They can issue a new number if she can prove fraudulent activity. She will not lose benefits. What will happen is Social Security will cross-reference the number. Also, when she reports the new number to the credit bureaus they will keep a record of the old number.

    It can take years to clear this up. I had a wallet stolen in 1988 and things still pop up as a result.
  3. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    That is pure hogwash. She can either 1) File Bankruptcy chapter 7 (and add those utility companies into her Bankruptcy to have them charged-off also) Or, 2)she can offer to make small payments per month (only if she can) or, 3) She can do nothing and change her phone number nad gradually they'll stop sending letters. But, there is always life after this, in other words, she can get credit again afterwards with a secured visa or mastercard. The bottom line is: Don't believe the people who say that you only have to pay because,..many, many, people find themselves in positions where they can't pay thru no fault of there own, and they always get credit after a few years.
  4. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    I'd like to amend what I wrote above. I misunderstood the initial posting and didn't realize that others were the ones who were racking up charges at yours mom-in-law's expense. In that case, I would not file Bankruptcy (that's only as a last resort) and I agree 100% with what curiouser and curiouser wrote regarding the Soc. Sec. Adminstration. They must give you a new number with proof, and they will cross-reference your 2 S.S. numbers (i'm surprised someone else knew that!) I personally would go the new S.S.# route.
  5. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    Also, one other thing. If you do get a new S.S. number, you'll have to watch out not to merge your old and new files when applying for credit.
  6. J. Edgar

    J. Edgar Well-Known Member

    This type of experience perhaps best points out the reason that social security numbers should NOT be used as universal identification numbers.

    I have had more arguments with more companies who demanded my social security number. The electric company, the gas company, the telephone company (only they were reasonable), medical insurers, dental insurers, optomotrists (who I was going to play for my glasses in cash, but that's how they file their customers, alot of people have vision plans you know...), the motor vehicle bureau, supermarkets (to get their invasion of privacy club-card so you get that jar of gherkens for 69 cents instead of 79 cents), pharmacies (even when paying for prescriptions in cash), video rental shops, autobody repair shops, check printing companies, rental car company clerks who can't deal with the fact that it isn't your drivers license number anymore, and on and on and on....

    My favorite is one time I had forgotten my supermarket club card and the cashier demanded my SSN before she'd ring up my groceries so the computer could look up my shopper #.

    This has got to stop.
  7. MichaelOH

    MichaelOH Guest

    I for one would be interested in hearing your won-loss record in these battles.
  8. J. Edgar

    J. Edgar Well-Known Member

    The results:

    The electric company:

    WIN, wanted identity verification only. Was happy with visit to business office and presentation of passport, only would have preferred driver's license. Claimed I didn't have driver's license.

    the gas company,

    WIN, similar story to electric company.

    the telephone company,

    WIN, no ID needed with deposit.

    medical insurers,

    WIN, didn't put number on enrollment form and requested an assigned ID #. Granted after I explained that I didn't care to carry around something with my SSN # on it in my wallet.

    dental insurers,

    WIN. Same as medical insurance.

    optomotrist who files customers by SSN.

    WIN. They already made the glasses, I didn't pay a deposit and they wanted their money.

    the motor vehicle bureau,

    LOSE. There's a Federal law that requires this information, presumably to track down deadbeat parents.


    WIN. I didn't need to give my SSN if I only wanted the discounts and didn't wish to have check cashing privileges.


    WIN. Asked for store manager who overruled clerk since I was paying cash for the (non-narcotic) prescription and not using prescription plan. Even if I was using the prescription plan they would have used the medical insurance #, which is typically one's SSN.

    video rental shops,

    WIN. Made up a number for me when I pointed out that blockbuster didn't require this information. They said they used the SSN because customers found it easy to remember and didn't like using their phone numbers for privacy reasons. (DUH!!)

    autobody repair shops,

    WIN. Wasn't happy that I had an alternate # on my driver's license. State requires ID requirements for any vehicle brought in for collision damage regardless of insurance payment or not for correlation with hit and run incidents. When I suggested that I could take the car to the shop across the street or elsewhere, backed down and was happy with license info.

    check printing companies,

    WIN (ultimately) Wanted # for account verification from bank. Used another company who was happy with a voided check bearing same address as order.

    rental car company clerks

    WIN. Clerk overruled by supervisor

    With the exception of the motor vehicle bureau, it seems you can get around most demands for the #. You are going to have to give up your SSN anytime you are engaging in a relationship with a firm where they are required to do tax reporting such as banks, mutual funds, brokerage houses, big win at the casino, big lottery prizes, employers, etc. Oddly enough, the only other time you'll run into a brick wall is when you are applying for credit as the CRAs maintain their files by SSN.

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