Identity theft can be a living hell these days.
With social engineering and sim swapping now an integral part of every scammers tool kit, it can be impossible to stop a determined identity thief from draining every cent of your money and leaving you out in the cold.
Help! Someone Stole My Identity And They Won’t Leave Me Alone
Read this story that was posted online. What would you recommend for this person? It seems like no one will help them. Not her bank. Not lawyers. Not Law Enforcement. And now, they are penniless without access to any of their accounts.
The story was posted by Reddit user Fleabagduo, recently and I found heartbreaking – “Someone stole my identity and won’t leave me alone”
Here is the full story.
Background info: maybe relevant, maybe not. Two weeks before this happened, I closed on a new home and a day later got into a serious car accident. My car was taken to impound and I never saw it again (did I leave something in the car..?)
Anyway about a month ago, I get a message that my transunion account was being attempted access online. I immediately called all 3 credit services and placed a freeze. Next I called my bank and reported the same and said I need it locked. They stated that I would have to send in a photo copy of my ID to have it unlocked. Great. I called all of these places directly.
Later that night my cell phone stops working. In the morning I go in and the employee states that someone went in, posed as me and ported my phone number over to a new phone they purchased on my account.
What happened over the next week was hell. This person had my phone number so for every 2 factor verification they got into everything and locked me out, including my bank. My bank did not believe I was who I said I was and it took over a week to gain access back to my account after this person changed all my passwords. When I got back in they had completed wire transfers and drained every cent I had including using my credit card. They have since pulled my tax returns. They even took over my Facebook and would read my messages in messenger. They were re activating email accounts I closed when I was 10. This is all AFTER changing every single, password, no longer using WiFi, everything I can think of. I got an entire new phone device on a new plan as well.
Yes I called the police. Yes I filed a report. It’s been a month and NO ONE will follow up with me and I have been calling and showing up in person.
This person lives 5 minutes away from me. I was able to track the device they added to my phone plan and get that information. I got their IP address from logging into my emails. I have a full name and address from orders and loans taken out with my card.
I cannot get a new bank account because I have to believe this person has a fake ID of me. If I make a new bank, they will walk in locally and start this over again. I confirmed this when they made a local order and I went into the store later to report fraud and they stated yes, this person walked in as you etc etc.
Every time I freeze my credit, this person knows enough to bypass the PIN I set up by answering all the computer generated security questions. I feel so powerless and I have every document here at home with me. My SS card, birth certificate, etc. I truly cannot understand how they got my information and THIS MUCH. They have unfroze my credit 3 times now.
It has been about a month now and I closed all my credit card accounts, bank accounts, I had no debt prior. I am STILL getting notifications that this person opened an account in my name, used my information to insure their car and so on.
This person has over 20 priors, multiple felonies, felony assault and battery, and most other cases are related to fraud. I called the police and said I am afraid for my safety as this person is violent, knows where I live and won’t leave me alone. Please, I know who this is and where they live and they told me to stop calling.
I got a lawyer. The lawyer stopped calling me back and stated this is too complicated.
What can I do? I’m at a loss.
Tl;dr I can’t use my own identity anymore and the police won’t pursue
ID Theft is Skyrocketing Here in the US
Javelin has published their findings for Identity Theft in 2020 and the findings are astounding. Identity theft climbed to over $56 Billion in 2020, driven mostly by the Pandemic and increased identity theft scams against consumers.
Traditionally identity theft has averaged $15 billion to $16 billion a year, but this last year, things went bonkers.
What Can They Do Now?
All hope may not be lost, but this person faces a long, long road ahead to clean up the mess. Here are the recommendations that people posted online. What would you recommend?
#1 – Contact the FBI – This is now a federal crime so you can get federal help (User Gariant)
#2 – Change PIN – So I would HIGHLY recommend not using PINs connect to any important date or instead having them spell out words, not answering the security questions truthfully, for future passwords have them be a string of at least 4 5 character words with symbols and not having passwords repeat. This comes from the fiancé of a security risk advisor used to make all of the above mentioned mistakes. (User Arit2022)
#3 – Check for Viruses on Your Devices – Have you checked your devices for any viruses etc. keyloggers etc. any Emails tied to accounts etc apps, accounts you have with anything to do with money. When was the last time you changed your passwords? any backup emails connected that might have been breached? They might still be able to access and stay a step ahead of you because of those?
#4 Contact Insurance Company – If you have homeowners insurance, check you policy. Mine includes identity theft insurance. (User Guavatrick)
#5 – Contact IDTheft Center in California – I fell with you man, this is one of my nightmares… Just a tip, in CA there is an organization for ID theft victims like your, maybe you did not find it yet. They usually have a good network and will know whom to contact for better assistance, lawyers etc. 888-400-5530
#6 – Hire A Private Investigator and Strike Back – Hire a private investigator or a hacker, both if possible (maybe a private investigator with nice skills is all you need). I would put them them to work together, it’s not hard to hack someone, apparently he’s living a long cyber fingerprint, so the devices he’s using and location should be easy to get. The private investigator might be able to get info than a hacker would not be able to like from the phone company, such as locations, calls, etc. Find him and turn him to the police.
If you have advice, let them know.
Come on fraud fighters, if you can help them you can respond to their post here