How I Was (Kinda) A Victim of Identity Theft

A few weeks ago, I received an online bill statement from my cellular provider, like I do every month. I have an auto pay set up and rarely go over my minutes, so I usually don't pay much attention to it. This month was different.

My bill is usually just north of $70 a month, but my latest statement showed that I owed over $300!

I called AT&T, figuring it was just a billing error on their part. No biggie, quick fix, right? Here's the conversation that I had with the CSR I spoke with:

Me: Hi, I'm calling to get some information about my bill. Its a bit larger than usual.

CSR: I'm seeing that you added four lines of service to your account on January 4th.

Me: ....

CSR: ....

Me: WHAT!?

I turns out that someone had somehow gotten into my account and added on four separate cell phone lines to my main account.

I was transferred to AT&T's "Fraud Team" who promised me that they would get to the bottom of this and shut down the fraudsters.

The big question is, how did that happen? Going through my account with a fine-toothed comb, I saw that even though my account is completely paperless and managed completely online, apparently I occasionally received physical an address that I haven't lived at since 2010!

My first step (after putting additional password protection and security on my account) was to investigate my credit report.

I haven't had the need in the last few years to check my credit report, so I was due for a free one. I spent an afternoon pouring through all three of my credit reports to see if there was any unauthorized activity done in my name, and thank goodness, there wasn't.

My situation was made easier by the fact that the fraudsters left a paper trail - the phone numbers they created and the ones they called where all readily availible.

I'm still making sure that everything is on the up and up, but the immediate danger is over. The big lesson of the day? ALWAYS pay attention to your bills. If you have questions, get answers. And make sure your address is always current!

Have you been a victim of identity theft or fraud? What do you do to safeguard yourself? Let me know in the comment section!


Sandy Pitkethly now Vice President, Marketing

Pumped About Improving Financial Literacy In My Generation