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Invasions Of Privacy And Identity Theft Expected In The Current Business Environment?

Hoc

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I received an automated phone call today from a company I had never heard of. The automated call asked me to punch in the last four digits of my SSN, or press 0 to speak to a representative.

Not knowing the company, I pressed 0. A rep came on the phone and asked me for my date of birth. I asked who they were. She again gave me the name of a company of whom I had never heard. I told her that I did not want to give that kind of information out to a company I did not know, and asked whether they were affiliated with anyone with whom I did business.

She told me that if I did not give her the info, she would not discuss it with me. I thanked her and hung up.

My guess is that it's probably some collections agency with a fraudulent "unpaid bill" or something like that. But, even assuming that to be the case, how arrogant of a company to actually expect you to input personal information without knowing who they are or whether they are a company with whom you have done business.

Yet, it appears that in the current business climate, more and more companies are expecting this. Even despite the rising instance of identity theft which the providing of such information can cause.

Just venting. Any thoughts?
 

Keitht

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We get it this side of the pond too. Companies phoning to say they can save us money on our mortgage, then starting to ask all sorts of questions about our financial situation etc. If I'm feeling charitable I simply say that we don't have a mortgage - that throws them :)
On less charitable days I tell them to **** off and mind their own business :mad:
 

Fern Modena

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Its scary, isn't it? Nevada has one of the highest incidents of identity theft in the nation, and I'm not surprised. In order to establish utilities here you have to provide a social security number. No deposit, but a SSN. I asked why and they said that they run a credit check on you, for utilities! What happens if you don't pass? No electricity? When you call Cox Cable, before you can talk to anybody you have to input the last four of your SSN as a passcode. Its stupid.

Until this year, whenever you charged anything, your copy of the receipt would have your whole number on it. Now most of the receipts XXX most of your card number, but its only recent. And when you apply for a drivers' license, they ask if you want your SSN on it (whatever for?).

No wonder...

Fern
 

RichM

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There was an article I read online awhile back about fraudulent use of SSN's for employment. Somebody was being asked to repay unemployment benefits or something like that because someone else collected them under their SSN under a different name. When they also noticed contributions under that SSN they assumed that SSN was collecting unemployment AND working.

Part of the article also said that apparently the social security office won't give out info on your OWN SSN?? So you can't even call in and find out if there are other NAMES using your SSN?

I'll see if I can find a link again.

EDIT: found a link: http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/1604066.html
Apparently it wasn't "identity theft" because 200+ people used her SSN under their OWN names. You'd think they'd notify the original nameholder! IRS rejects your taxes if a dependent's name on the tax return doesn't match what they have on file for their SSN.

I hate identity thieves almost as much as I hate spammers.


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Gadabout

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Companies see ID theft (and the fear of it) as a new way to make more money, that's why they are actively fighting efforts to allow consumers to freeze their credit, and pushing ID theft insurance, which btw does not magically stop the ID theft, or cut down your paperwork and time involved trying to repair it. I'd like to see everything go back to the days of requiring deposits for services such as utilities instead of running credit checks on your SSN.

Also, what angers me is that they just see it as a cost of doing business and don't even want to prosecute. :mad: Case in point:

Someone we know recently had a check sent to them UPS 2-day mail (like an Express Mail) from out of state from someone they did not know, totally out of the blue. The check was from someone living in the same county, had one amount (very large) in the numbers space, and a different amount in the written space. The address/name on the check was correct from checking public records, but the signature looked traced (the whole thing definitely looked fishy). They called the bank name on the check to notify them of this and said they'd be happy to bring it in to them or to the police to help in their case. The bank said, "yeah, the account has been closed, just rip up the check". Didn't even want to see it. Disgusting.
 

Tia

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The hubs new job is using SS number as id for benefits they offer with other companies, so out goes the number to the everyone that has access to those companies information. I asked him to call HR this week and request that his id number be changed. One company said they can just do lookups on name and didn't even need the number so why do they have it? :(
 

AnnieK

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I had my identity stolen 18 months ago. I live in California, but somebody in Illinois had a driver's license with my name on it and was opening up instant charge cards at stores like Lowe's, Sears and making large purchases. Thanks to a suspicious employee at Sears, I was called within a week of the fraud when the person attempted to make a second very large purchase. Since Citibank cards were involved, thier Identity Theft Production unit was helpful in getting a fraud alert put on my credit report, and helping me through the piles of paperwork involved to clear my name. I thought the criminal had moved onto another victim.

A year later, when applying for a mortgage, my credit score had decreased by 80 points. After researching it, I found that the thief had indeed used my social security number to obtain utilities at a home in Illinois, not paid the bills and skipped town and the bills had been forwarded to a collection agency. This entailed another pile of paperwork, endless copies of bills, paystubs, etc., from California to prove that I was living here and not in Illinois. We are talking about hours and hours of my time and a lot of stress on me. I cannot relax because I don't know when the next incident of fraud is going to show itself.

Most interesting was when I got the call from Sears. The thief was in the store attempting to make a purchase. I was called to verify that I did not have a Sears card and had never been to Illinois. I asked the guy why he didn't call the police, since they had the woman in the store. He told me that their concern was only to protect me. As far as I know, the lady was denied the ability to use her new card and walked out of the store. Also, when I filed the police report here in California, I asked them to put the information into a data base that exists to try to track where these numbers are stolen from, as advised by Citibank. The sheriff told me that the department was too busy to deal with stuff like that. Amazing, isn't it?
 
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