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Accidentally gave a stranger my social security number, my license number, my bank account number, and various other personal details. What should I do?

bigbadmistake 10 June 18, 2014 at 07:04 PM in Other
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I done messed up. I faxed an apartment rental application to a random stranger instead of the landlord. The application includes everything about me:
  • Social security number
  • License number
  • Bank account number and balance
  • My full name, birth-date, address, phone numbers, and e-mail address
  • My parents' full names, addresses, and phone numbers
  • Other assorted application-type information
The fax number belongs to a user of k7.net, a website that gives you a free phone number to receive voicemails and faxes. I have no way of finding out who this person is. I left a voicemail asking for a call back, but there's been none so far.

I contacted k7 customer service. The rep kindly deleted the fax off the server, but it was also e-mailed to the user as an attachment, and there's no way of getting that back. The rep is also not allowed to reveal any personal details from the recipient's account.


I have no reason to believe that the mystery recipient will try and cause mischief. He is probably a member of that majority of people who would never impersonate or steal from someone else. However, just in case he turns out to be a member of the dodgy minority: what should I be doing to protect myself?

29 Comments

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#16
I agree with some of the people advising you to contact your bank/CC company and let them know what happened. Most financial institutions have very sophisticated fraud detection departments that can look out for things like that in the future.

Also, do not send some of this sensitive information (SS#, bank account number) to a landlord unless absolutely necessary. They don't necessarily need it, and there may even be privacy laws where you live which prohibit asking for details like that.
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#17
how pathetic, there is no trust-worthy-ness in amerika...
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#18
the only thing you need to do is get a new bank acc't #, as banks tend to take a long time to replenish stolen money.

if somebody steals your identity, who cares? all you have to do is send the credit bureaus/credit issuers (1) a police report, and (2) a motorized affidavit that the accounts are fraudulent.

financial institutions get stuck holding the bag, not you.
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#19
Quote from janinvan View Post :
I agree with some of the people advising you to contact your bank/CC company and let them know what happened. Most financial institutions have very sophisticated fraud detection departments that can look out for things like that in the future.

Also, do not send some of this sensitive information (SS#, bank account number) to a landlord unless absolutely necessary. They don't necessarily need it, and there may even be privacy laws where you live which prohibit asking for details like that.
SS# is for background check in most apt application, so it is basically impossible to avoid.

Anyway, as other said, close/change bank acct and credits freeze.
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#20
All right, thanks for the advice everyone. I've (a) Changed the bank account (b) Put out a fraud alert with the three credit agencies (c) Signed up for the credit monitoring from Michaels (I actually really qualify for it!) and (d) Will further keep an eye on everything manually and as monitored by creditkarma. I'm going to put off freezing my credit for now; if I ever see any hint of the mystery person actually trying to use my information, I will do it then.
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#21
Quote from bigbadmistake View Post :
I'm going to put off freezing my credit for now; if I ever see any hint of the mystery person actually trying to use my information, I will do it then.
Why? It's theonly 100% effective solution and it's the cheapest insurance you could buy against identity theft. If you wait until you see a criminal using your number it will be too late then. You very well could have a new part-time job for the next year or two on your hands trying to clean up the mess they've created.

Credit monitoring is a waste of money and essentially useless. It only tells you after the fact that someone has broken into your house and begun to steal things. A credit freeze keeps the would-be criminals from ever getting into your house in the first place. Fraud alerts shouldn't be relied on either as not all credit issuers follow protocol and verify your identity before granting credit.

If you are trying to 100% prevent someone from opening accounts as if they are you with your social security number, a credit freeze is your only option.

You can freeze your credit with each of the three bureaus here in about 3 minutes each:

Equifax [equifax.com]
Experian [experian.com]
TransUnion [transunion.com]
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#22
Thanks. I understand that I am not 100% protected. My reason is that I feel that the amount of risk I am running is now tolerable.

Feel free to point out if I'm missing something here. My understanding is that the risk has been reduced to the chance that the following sequence of events all happen: (a) the random recipient of my fax decides to act maliciously, (b) the fraud alert doesn't work, (c) a new line of credit is approved before I can stop it, and (d) quick reactive measures are insufficient to head off a part-time-job level of clean up.
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#23
Quote from bigbadmistake View Post :
Thanks. I understand that I am not 100% protected. My reason is that I feel that the amount of risk I am running is now tolerable.

Feel free to point out if I'm missing something here. My understanding is that the risk has been reduced to the chance that the following sequence of events all happen: (a) the random recipient of my fax decides to act maliciously, (b) the fraud alert doesn't work, (c) a new line of credit is approved before I can stop it, and (d) quick reactive measures are insufficient to head off a part-time-job level of clean up.
An initial fraud alert only stays in place for 90 days. Smart criminals know to wait this time period out as most consumers don't continue renewing fraud alerts on their credit files indefinitely.

Are you balking at freezing your credit because you apply for new credit on a regular and frequent basis?
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#24
Quote from Brian1 View Post :
Freeze your credit immediately, as in before you finish reading this sentence. Freezing your credit will shut the would-be criminals down cold.
And payday loans and that type of bs?
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#25
Quote from barginbin View Post :
And payday loans and that type of bs?
nope. those places either don't check or check some weird bureau that few people have ever heard of.

lots of used cars lots don't check credit either.

most of the cars are crap. but about 10% are good.

a thief could buy a one and use it as a getaway car in a crime spree. of course, the vehicle would be registered to the OP.

then felony warrants would be issued for his arrest.

if he were subsequently stopped by cops for a traffic violation, he'd be taken out of his car at gunpoint and arrested.

then he'd be hauled off (in handcuffs) to a police station.

the typical criminal usually spews a lot of BS. so it's unlikely that police would immediately buy his story.

this means that cops would most likely spend a long time trying to verify what was really going on.

he might even spend much of that time in lockup, since the cynical pigs generally believe one is guilty until proven innocent.
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#26
Quote from wutumean View Post :
nope. those places either don't check or check some weird bureau that few people have ever heard of.

lots of used cars lots don't check credit either.

most of the cars are crap. but about 10% are good.

a thief could buy a one and use it as a getaway car in a crime spree. of course, the vehicle would be registered to the OP.

then felony warrants would be issued for his arrest.

if he were subsequently stopped by cops for a traffic violation, he'd be taken out of his car at gunpoint and arrested.

then he'd be hauled off (in handcuffs) to a police station.

the typical criminal usually spews a lot of BS. so it's unlikely that police would immediately buy his story.

this means that cops would most likely spend a long time trying to verify what was really going on.

he might even spend much of that time in lockup, since the cynical pigs generally believe one is guilty until proven innocent.
nod
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#27
Quote from wutumean View Post :
nope. those places either don't check or check some weird bureau that few people have ever heard of.

lots of used cars lots don't check credit either.

most of the cars are crap. but about 10% are good.

a thief could buy a one and use it as a getaway car in a crime spree. of course, the vehicle would be registered to the OP.

then felony warrants would be issued for his arrest.

if he were subsequently stopped by cops for a traffic violation, he'd be taken out of his car at gunpoint and arrested.

then he'd be hauled off (in handcuffs) to a police station.

the typical criminal usually spews a lot of BS. so it's unlikely that police would immediately buy his story.

this means that cops would most likely spend a long time trying to verify what was really going on.

he might even spend much of that time in lockup, since the cynical pigs generally believe one is guilty until proven innocent.

Yes because once a Judge issues a felony warrant the police are responsible not only of completing the arrest but also reinvestigating whatever evidence lead to the issuing of said warrant.
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#28
Quote from bigbadmistake View Post :
I done messed up. I faxed an apartment rental application to a random stranger instead of the landlord. The application includes everything about me:
  • Social security number
  • License number
  • Bank account number and balance
  • My full name, birth-date, address, phone numbers, and e-mail address
  • My parents' full names, addresses, and phone numbers
  • Other assorted application-type information
The fax number belongs to a user of k7.net, a website that gives you a free phone number to receive voicemails and faxes. I have no way of finding out who this person is. I left a voicemail asking for a call back, but there's been none so far.

I contacted k7 customer service. The rep kindly deleted the fax off the server, but it was also e-mailed to the user as an attachment, and there's no way of getting that back. The rep is also not allowed to reveal any personal details from the recipient's account.


I have no reason to believe that the mystery recipient will try and cause mischief. He is probably a member of that majority of people who would never impersonate or steal from someone else. However, just in case he turns out to be a member of the dodgy minority: what should I be doing to protect myself?
That can ended really bad...
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#29
So... any hits on your credit yet?
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#30
Did you call into the Clark Howard show? I could have sworn I heard this same story on one of his podcasts recently.
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