I had an eventful afternoon. I have been very busy these past few weeks with doctors and dentists for myself, Tim and Cain since we now have medical insurance. I had not seen a doctor or a dentist for 5 years for general exams. I found out I have a heart murmur which added a cardiologist appointment to the long list of medical check ups. So today I was returning from some weird nerve test the doctor ordered, followed by a visit to the eye doctor. I returned home about 2:30pm, blinded by the eye drops the ophthalmologist had put in, I get to the entrance of my building and there is Tim with 2 plain clothes police officers! Turns out the police were undercover and were in a taxi (unmarked police vehicle) and from our beloved 19th precinct, who know us so well from the Ronald McDonald House.
They had arrested a guy at our stoop, and they asked me if I knew a black man by the name of ......I replied no. I remembered seeing him when I left for my doctors appointment at 8:30am. He was well dressed and I gave him a smile as I headed out, he smiled back. I always smile at people on my stoop, as most are my neighbors or their friends and it's good to stay friendly with the neighbors! Anyway, they arrested him (not sure what lead the police to him) and he had a piece of paper in his pocket with several peoples names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers...and mine was one of them!!! When they arrested him, he said he was waiting for UPS. The police told me to put a flag on my credit and to request a credit check to see if he has stolen my identity. I had all my cards, nothing was missing.
He did not have my credit card number anywhere on the piece of paper but he had my date of birth and my social security number. This leads me to believe that this was not something stolen from the internet ie: credit card purchases. I have never used my social on the internet and when you buy something they usually don't ask your date of birth. I have not had a social security number long, I was not eligible for one until early last year. So I have only used my social for a few things. Most recently doctors...Every time you go to a doctor or dentist, it's the first thing they ask you. In the past 2 weeks I have given it to 4 or 5, some even ask you over the phone when you make the appointment! I assume that either someone in the doctors office sold this information to someone or they did not keep the information safe. Maybe the doctors office was broken into or their computers were hacked into, either way I believe it was breached at one of these doctors offices.
The police took him away, and they told me they would call me later and keep me informed. About an hour later UPS arrived, with a package. I signed for it and took it to the kitchen table. I was not expecting any deliveries, so I knew this was what this guy was waiting for. I recalled the police officers saying he could be using my address to ship drugs to. I was very curious and figured it was addressed to me...so I took a pair of scissors and carefully opened it. There were 3 very expensive camera phones, and an invoice with my name on it!!! That was not very exciting but they were very nice phones! I quickly called the precinct and they arrived 10 minutes later to pick it up. They told me to follow up with T-Mobile to see what happened and to call them back when I get details. I called and this person had opened up an account in my name for 4 lines. I was connected to their freud department and after telling them the story, they told me that they had opened the account over the phone, all they needed was my name, address, social and date of birth!!! No payment was made, instead they bill you (me) for 3 $400 phones! I can't believe how easy it is, it's really scary!
These companies need to be held accountable, how do you just send out phones and create an account without photo ID? Even UPS, they get you to sign but they have no idea who you are, they don't even ask your name, so whats the point in signing? These phones were probably going to be unlocked and re-sold but what if they were going to be used for another more serious crime or even for terrorists...ok maybe been watching too much Law & Order. Seriously though, these companies make it too easy for criminals. Now I am left with waiting for my credit report in the mail, hoping that more accounts, purchases or credit cards were not opened in my name. Thankfully they caught the guy, and now have a police report to prove my identity was stolen. I just have to scourer the country for accounts connected with my social security number that I did not approve and get them canceled...which will take many calls, letters and time to do. I cannot believe that it is so easy to have your identity stolen.
Poor Tim, he was coming out of our apartment and stopped by 2 police asking if he knows a Melissa Hartung. He said his heart stopped, he thought something bad had happened to me.