In a previous installment of ‘Deadbeat’ Dad Chronicles I mentioned that putting child support payments in my ex-wife’s hand instead of going through the State’s child support office backfired big time. It was definitely not a frugal decision as it caused much grief in the form of interest added onto my “missed” payments.
To make matters worse, as happens in life, two events occurred that would affect me financially for a significant amount of time. I’ll address the first of the two in this article – Identity Theft.
Safeguard Your ID
Many folks don’t understand the seriousness of this silent crime. The individual who pretended to be me emptied my bank account, put his picture on my drivers license, wrote several hot checks, sold my social security number to eight other people and also got two jobs in my name in another state.
It’s important to note here that this thief didn’t use my credit except for the cash from the bank account and writing hot checks. I mention this because many people mistakenly believe that identity theft is all about one’s credit and credit score. Not so! Your credit is only about 20% of the situation.
Pretend you’re the identity thief. You steal someone’s drivers license and replaced their photo with yours. You get pulled over for speeding, hand the officer your insurance and license. He does his job, you sign the ticket and drive off. So who actually got that ticket?
The person whose name appears on the drivers license now has a ticket but has no clue. Let’s further imagine that this same scenario occurs several more times. Again and again you, the ID thief, drive away scott-free while someone else has no clue they’re supposed to show up in court for all those tickets. Next, Failure To Appear warrants are issued. But, again, you have nothing to worry about because none of those warrants are in your name.
Your next step is to move several states away and use that same identification and stolen social security card to land yourself two well-paying jobs. Meanwhile the victim of this theft, that’s me, is slowly dealing with the consequences.
First the bank account you drained without me knowing goes negative since I’m unknowingly writing checks I expect to clear without a problem. Next my car is repossessed. Why? Because the checks I wrote bounced! Then I am evicted, also, because the checks I wrote for rent all bounced! (Having to move back into my mother’s house was adding insult to injury.)
The point of all this is to let you see how important it is to guard your identity 24/7. There are five areas identity thieves can strike:
Social Security number
For anyone trying to live a frugal life, save for retirement, invest and put money aside for a child’s education, being the victim of identity theft can, and in my case did, cause many of those plans to be put off for many years. The financial struggle that comes as a result cannot be overstated.
Financial Security Threatened
A very disappointing aspect was the effect on child support payments. With no car I couldn’t get to work. With no drivers license or Social Security card I couldn’t prove who I was in order to find another job. Interest started piling up, the ex-wife got less and less friendly and my son started thinking his dad didn’t care about him because he wasn’t providing financially. (I’m not ashamed to say it caused this non crier to shed more than a few tears.)
Thankfully, I was introduced to Legal Shield Inc. I made a frugal decision to sell my trench coat to pay for the membership. The top-rated law firm in Texas went to bat for me. I was amazed at the results.
Identity Theft is real and on the rise. Movies like Catch Me If You Can show the real life emergence of this crime. There is actually a bigger war on Identity Theft than on illegal drugs. It’s no longer a matter of if you’ll be a victim, it’s a matter of WHEN.
Need more proof? Go to google.com and search for the following:
* Identity breaches in 2015
* Data breaches in 2015
* reported identity theft cases 2015
The results are many and varied.
One lady was informed that her tax return may be going to someone else.
A police officer found that “234 fraudulent unemployment claims were filed from his residence”.
The title of one article reads “Georgia Woman Sentenced for Filing Over 180 False Tax Returns”.
I could go on and on but I have to sleep at some point.
I’m guessing you get the idea. Identity Theft is NO JOKE. To deny it is directly tied to your financial well-being would be- to be straightforward- ignorant. Don’t wait to react to being a victim. Prepare for the inevitability as Proverbs 27:12 reminds us:
A prudent person forsees danger and takes precautions, but the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
The warnings are all over the news, internet, magazine articles, websites, and on your neighbors’ lips. You have been exposed to the reality of this crime. It’s time to safeguard your family’s identities and financial situation.
Intersted in learning how? Visit my web site: http://www.ebright.legalshieldassociate.com
Protect your family, Stay Frugal!