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Identity Theft Prevention Tip

Recently my 82 year old mother became a victim of identity theft.  Someone from Kentucky stole her name and social security number and opened a credit card with Capital One.  The culprit not only received the card, but they charged it to the limit and never made a payment. 
All of this was discovered when she inquired into moving into a different apartment.  Upon inquiring into her credit, the landlord informed her of this account with Capital One which had been placed for collections.  This is where the fun begins.
Viking Both my mother and I have spent countless hours on the phone  being transferred between departments at Capital One.  From one ignorant or unhelpful representative toe the next, each time resulting in an ultimate transfer direct to their collection agency.  Needless to say,  this has become a very stressful and frustrating situation.  These so-called "Customer Service Representatives" either hung up the phone or refused to transfer our call to a supervisor.  When asked to speak with the fraud department, they asked for the account number of the credit card, and transferred the call right back to the collections agency.
Now I know why Capital One has that commercial about vikings pilaging a suburban mall.  After several unsuccessful attempts to reach the appropriate individuals in the fraud department,  I felt like pillaging Capital One's corporate offices myself.  The truth is that Capital One is just as guilty as the person who stole her identity in that they granted this credit without asking for any identification.  This whole situation destroyed my mother's credit in the process.
The one thing I learned from all of this is that you can avoid identity fraud.  You need to write to all three credit companies(Equifax, Trans Union, Experian) and ask to add a "Consumer Statement" to your credit report.  This is a statement that tells any potential creditor, who is inquiring into your credit, that you must be notified by telephone before extending credit.  This is a safety net in the event that someone is using your identity.  Each time your credit is inquired this statement will appear on your credit report. 
At least this can avoid any potential future problems.  The next time someone asks you "What's in your wallet?", tell them it's none of their business.

Contact info for the three credit reporting agencies:


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