Oh there is so much to update.
I had a meeting with my coworkers yesterday and encouraged them all to check their scores and even consider freezing their credit. CPAs have good credit scores and don't use their credit much (at least the people in my office) so I wanted to let them know they could freeze it. I have to say if it had happened to someone else I would not have been so game to pay $30 every time I may want to unfreeze my credit in the future ($10/bureau). BUT having been here, it is probably a small price to pay. IT also probably warrants a lot of letter writing to congress. Why consumers have to pay to protect their identity. It is just a little ridiculous if you ask me...
I called AICPA and they said "no one has reported any ID theft." Yeah right! Not one CPA in all of the US has had their identity stolen in the last 18 months? Whatever. I filled them in and they put a note in my file. If this is a CPA problem though I imagine I will find out eventually just keeping up to date with friends and co-workers. For their sake I hope not. AICPA seemed very unconcerned as far as they were concerned because it had been about 18 months since the security breach, and a year since they informed us. I guess once a year is past you just are s'posed to forget that your data is lost out there somewhere???? I don't follow the logic.
I was kind of surprised how open my boss was to me doing a quick meeting (it is deadline today and VERY busy) but he just was SO concerned. Since I have been a CPA we use pin #s to sign returns and I actually suggested everyone in the office get a pin # when I joined this firm in 2001. Anyway, he mentioned yesterday that his social security # was all over tarnation from the millions of tax returns that he had signed over the last 30 years or so. I mean all you need is one idiot client to toss their tax return in the trash, and there you go. HEck, a photocopy place called my office one day when I was the only one there and so I was answering phones and they said they had a client's tax return. They had forgotten it. I called the client immediately and we all talked about at work how they were lucky an honest employee found it. But to think our own info used to be at risk when clients did stupid things - *shudders*
& I think it was interesting to point out that I am pretty guarded with my info but it still got out somehow. I just wanted to make sure everyone was checking their reports and that they should do the fraud alert (it is very easy to do) in the case it does stem from AICPA.
Anyway, my coworker had some interesting insight. Her last boss's identity was stolen and she had 2 interesting tidbits. One - the detectives said usually identity thieves sit on data for a year before they start using it (wait for the smoke to clear in case the theft is caught, etc.). Which is very interesting and why I am more annoyed at AICPA's indifference. IT was interesting to hear that is the actual pattern of ID theft - waiting a year - which makes the AICPA look more like where this could stem from.
Also, in this case they found out right away but the ID thieves tried to change the mailing address 2 weeks after applying for the credit. Because of this they were able to CATCH them. I have been at a loss as to why they would use my home address and wonder if that is something they plan to do. Rather interesting...
Then again I got home last night and guess was in the mail - a new credit card from Lowes. The only good I can see from this is the ID thieves hopefully wanted to run up a bunch of credit and then run. & not cause me any further headache. Well I can hope. Why else would they just have the card sent to me. I would have found out so fast regardless. I hope this means they are done...
I signed up for the monitoring but it takes 7-10 days to start up or something. Then again I probably won't get all the paperwork from all the cards until then anyway. We'll see... All I can do is wait at this point.
Oh we were also talking about in our meeting how the key was they seemed to have my birth date too. I am not sure how easy it or hard it is to find that info once you have the rest of my personal info (probably easy) BUT we did discuss that we should never give our SS# OR our birth date to anyone who really doesn't need it. What I wonder is if I use a birthdate with the same month and year but a different date, does it really matter for most things? I don't know. Just another interesting point as I had input my birthdate on SavingAdvice when I signed up and later changed it to a phony date once the topic came up here that that is TMI. I had never really thought about it before, but I will guard my true birth date like my SS# from now on - for the most part.
& yes my coworker offered to do free notaries for me. My bank would have been $10/document. Not terrible, but not great either. I'll take free. The funny thing is she is rather elderly and I have been thinking of becoming a notary anyway to make some side money. My boss would probably pay for the classes and stuff if I offered to help her/take over for her. But yesterday she starts telling me notary horror stories. LOL. All these clients coming in for free notaries (as it is offered as a free service by my boss) and coming in needing 50 at a time, etc. I came home and told dh nevermind. I said who will I get free notary service from if I am "it"??? I'll let someone else take over that whole thing - hehe. Of course hopefully I never need another notary again. Yeesh.
Well in 2 weeks I will probably filling out a lot of paperwork. I am also waiting for my final police report to do my credit freeze. I did hear you should demand to go to the police in person for a report. as for here, they really wanted me to do it online and it is convenient. I could hardly argue. The police shortage out here is insane - like they truly have time for this. You hear it takes 30 minutes to respond to a 911 call and they ignore calls about potential kidnappings. I am just not interested in wasting their time with something that can be done online. What are they really going to do anyway??? Does it matter if I go in person? Is is really going to be hard to dispute that I didn't open a card at Lowes and max it out in Indiana on Monday? I was at work all day!
I also wonder if this mess would be worse or harder to clear up if they had changed my address before I found out. Oy vey.
Well, we'll see..
Oh finally, I had one more clue. My credit report has an "l" in my street name instead of an "i." Apparently the thieves used "l"s. I know a few of my bills come to the address with an incorrect "l" but not very many. I am not sure if it means much though. The problem is "i" gets mistaken for "l" so much. I think it will be interesting to see the original applications and see if we can determine if they used l or i. If it is obvious what they intended to use. It could be a clue. Or it could just mean nothing. When we bought the house they told us the wrong street name because someone misinterpreted the i. ??? I found it interesting though since I read off my address to all the companies but Express read it off to me with the "l" so it got the wheels turning in my head. I will check for one what AICPA has for my address. Hmmmm...
Oh there is so much to update.