Identity Theft – It happened to me

I was almost a victim of identity theft.

I did not apply for this card:

Credit Fraud Letter

For those of you not familiar with Bergdorf Goodman – it is a high-end luxury department store in NYC – think Gucci, Prada, Chanel. Unfortunately, not a place I will be shopping at anytime soon.

I checked on Credit Karma and there it was – a hard inquiry on Equifax dated around the same time of the above letter from this department store. I also found another hard inquiry that I did not initiate. I took this opportunity to thoroughly review what accounts are open and make sure they were actually mine. Phew – all good. But I did find 3 old store cards that I haven't used in years. I went ahead and closed them.

I then froze my credit at all 3 agencies – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.

What does freezing credit do? It prevents unauthorized use of your credit to open credit cards, mortgages, etc. unless you/they have your pin. This pin is issued when you freeze your credit. When you need to open a new card or mortgage you simply unfreeze or thaw your credit. Best if you call the bank or institution and find out which agency they will use first so you only need to thaw one agency. There may be a fee to thaw – but negligible compared to the headache and time needed to undo fraudulent activity.

So, even if someone does get your information they will not be able to open any lines of credit without this pin. Guard this pin! You will not be able to do anything without it. Make copies, upload to a secure cloud etc.

Freezing your credit has no impact on your credit score. Freezing and thawing credit is also state specific in terms of how long it will stay frozen and fees to freeze or thaw.

Check out this excellent freeze/thaw guide for links and info on how to easily freeze your credit. Please note that freezing credit does not affect a theft's ability to steal and use your actual credit card. Thankfully, this is much easier to deal with.

And, don't forget to freeze your children's credit! Yes the thieves are even going after them.

If you're eligible, you can take things further and obtain a pin from the IRS so that no one else can file in your name. Yes it happens, and I can assure you this is a much bigger PITA to deal with. Unfortunately, at this time, you need to be eligible to obtain one:

I am not eligible at this time. Hopefully the IRS will soon let anyone obtain a pin to protect themselves.

Get our guide

Sign up to learn the 5 Money Myths Keeping You From True Wealth — so you'll never fall for them again.

Posted in

Recent Posts

The Wealthy Mom MD Podcast with Dr. Bonnie Koo | Giving and Philanthropy for Physicians with Dr. Recha Bergstrom

85: Giving and Philanthropy for Physicians with Dr. Recha Bergstrom

One thing I’ve been trying to do in my business is give money to causes that I feel strongly about. However, I found myself overwhelmed by having to choose an organization, and even how to even make a donation, and Recha helped me greatly through this process.

The Wealthy Mom MD Podcast with Dr. Bonnie Koo | How to Maximize Your Credit Card Points with Devon Gimbel

84: How to Maximize Your Credit Card Points with Devon Gimbel

My guest this week is Devon Gimbel, a double board-certified physician, and magician when it comes to maximizing credit card points for luxury travel. Did you know you can use your credit card points to fly in style on an economy budget? It’s way simpler than you might think, and Devon is here to show you how.

The Wealthy Mom MD Podcast with Dr. Bonnie Koo | Gifts and People Pleasing

83: Gifts and People Pleasing

This is the fourth and final episode of my mini-series on all things spending. And today, we’re discussing something that comes up for so many people, and they don’t even realize it’s happening: overspending on gifts from a place of people pleasing.