Identity Theft Horror Stories
I know this is supposed to be about my own identity theft horror stories, but luckily I haven't had a problem with identity theft fraud yet (touch wood!). But I did want to share that I've had a couple of close friends who have had their identity stolen, and wow, what a HORRIBLE experience!
They don't know exactly how their information was stolen, but it probably happened over a period of time. In other words, they didn't have any particular break-in at their home or office. The amazing thing is that after finding out, they realized that it had been compromised years before they ever knew it! They had a home, two cars, credit cards, etc., all the normal things, and didn't need to apply for credit for many years.
Apparently the crooks opened credit cards in my friends' names (note that these two friends are unrelated, but have similar identity theft horror stories!), and even leased a car (in one case).
It probably took so long to find out, because one, my friends didn't need to apply for credit, and two, the thieves were paying the bills for quite some time. I guess that they applied for credit because their own was bad. Usually, however, people doing this type of thing will run up bills quickly, and even if you don't need to apply for credit (and learn then that there's a problem), you might find out when your existing credit card companies, insurance companies, etc., start increasing your costs, lowering your credit, canceling your cards, etc.
Anyway, they were paying religiously for years, believe it or not. Then they either ran out of money, or determined that there was minimal/no risk to them if they just didn't pay. Perhaps they enjoyed the convenience of the credit cards they were using?
At the end of the day, when my friends learned what was going on, it was too late. Their credit was shot, and they spent thousands of dollars fighting to avoid having to pay the outstanding debt on the credit cards and car bills. It was a massive headache that can really only be described as a total and complete nightmare.
The only word of advice is to check your credit report regularly, and I've heard that the identity fraud lock/alerting tools really are worthwhile. I see that you have info on this site about these types of companies; I'm off now to read about them! Here's to me (or you!) never having an identity theft horror story of my (your) own to report!