What to do when your friend steals your personal information and empties your bank account.
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.
A front-page post on Reddit last week asked users to share their weirdest friendship-ending moments. Many people shared stories about catching friends stealing — boyfriends, money, clothes. But one guy told a story about a friend who stole his identity.
The victim’s post was one of the most popular of the nearly 9,000 comments on the thread.
It went like this: A friend comes back to town after being gone for a year, so the Redditor invites him over. When the guy leaves the room, his friend steals a few blank checks from the back of his checkbook and copies his driver’s license number.
According to the story, the friend generates a fake ID in the man’s name, uses the information on the blank checks to order a new set, opens credit cards in the victim’s name and starts spending the guy’s money.
After the friend empties the man’s bank account, a call comes through about a bounced check, and the victim starts figuring things out.
Among the various steps he had to take to catch his friend, the man went to the police, who handed him a packet of information on identity theft. He contacted the three major credit bureaus and placed a fraud alert on his credit files. When his friend attempted to use his identity several days later, he was caught.
The commenter said it took about a year for him to correct all the damage his friend had caused. He says he got his money back, and the friend went to jail — but not before asking the victim to drop the charges in the hope he could avoid serving time.
And obviously, they aren’t friends anymore.
What to do when someone steals your identity
You can quickly spot signs of identity theft by monitoring your credit with a tool like Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. If you see something suspicious, start asking questions, and then follow these tips:
- Get free copies of each of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus.
- Call the major credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — and place a fraud alert on your credit.
- Call the issuers of any credit or debit card you believe to be compromised.
- Change the passwords to your email accounts and sites with personal information.
- Check your bank accounts, and change online passwords for those accounts, too.
- Document everything, from conversations with banks to all suspicious activity you come across.
More on Credit.com:
- Can You Really Get Your Credit Score for Free?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
- 4 Ways Identity Theft Can Affect Your Credit