ARCHIVE - I'm going to attempt to use this repository to hold notes and issues with my ID theft and solve things in the open. Should be a pleasurable experience.
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README.md

README.md

Identity Theft

This repository serves to document and solve my ID theft that began in May of 2013. I'm using GitHub for this for two reasons:

  1. I'm on hold endlessly during this process and can't really do much else.
  2. More to the point: There are a bunch of things that need to be taken care of, and doing so via GitHub issues actually makes a lot of sense.

And so, without further ado, allow me to explain what's going on.

History

Around June of last year, I got a phone call from "PayPal" telling me that I needed to pay my credit card bill with them. I was convinced at the time that it wasn't actually PayPal, and that it was a scam phone call. I was wrong about that. The scam had happened earlier, I did have a PayPal credit card that somebody had created in my name, and it was indeed overdue.

Months later, I got another phone call, again trying to get me to pay off the PayPal credit card. At this point, I was just impressed with the scammer's persistence, but I didn't pursue it further, and left on a six month trip to New Zealand.

...

In May of this year, back from New Zealand, I got another call, this time from a debt collector. Alarm bells went off when they were able to tell me my SSN, DOB, address, previous address...everything. It was time to dig in and see what was happening, so I began checking my credit reports.

Sure enough, each of the credit reports listed a long overdue PayPal credit card that was opened in May, 2013. Bummer.

Resolution

Resolving this situation has been painful. There are several issues:

  1. I need to clear things up with the bank that PayPal uses to issue these credit cards
  2. I need to create an immediate 90 day security hold with each of the credit agencies.
  3. I need to create a police report and an affidavit with the FTC -- these form my "Identity Theft Report".
  4. I need to set up a seven year security block with the three credit agencies (a more involved process than above).
  5. I need to block the credit card from appearing on my credit report with each of the three credit agencies.
  6. I need to get the debt collector off my back.

All of these things are under way. You can watch the progress!

Lesson Learned

There are indeed a few things I will do differently next time this happens, by being either more thorough or less:

  1. I requested each of the credit agencies individually that they set up the 90 day block and the seven year security thing. Neither was necessary, as the agencies seem to talk to each other. So far, I've been happiest with Experian (TransUnion charged me for what should have been a free report and Equifax is slow as hell with a bad website).
  2. In Berkeley at least, you don't need to go downtown to get a police report, you simply need to do them online. This doesn't result in a signed report and means that your FTC affidavit isn't signed by the Po (as it's supposed to be), but so far that hasn't mattered.
  3. The debt collector is easily the most annoying part of this -- bank comes in close second -- but they will keep hounding you until they know they're waiting for something. In the future I will make sure to let them know when I'm waiting for something so they can know they're waiting for it too.

Risks taken, yet to be determined if they'll be OK:

  1. I didn't get the Po to sign my FTC affidavit or the police report. We'll see if I get away with it. Update: It's OK!
  2. I didn't get a notary to sign my FTC affidavit. We'll see if I get away with it. Update: It's OK!