Tips To Prevent Your Child From Being A Victim Of Identity Theft And Credit Card Fraud

Tips To Prevent Your Minor Child From Being A Victim Of Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft

Two nights ago my daughter received a call from a number that we did not recognize. Because the number had an area code where we have family located, she went ahead and answered it. Turns out, it was a family member that we had not seen or spoken to in years. What started out as a chance to catch up turned into an identity theft scare that has caused nothing but headache since.

The family member, whom I will refer to as D, and my daughter spoke for a while. I was in the room and could hear part of the conversation and Amber told me about the rest when she got off the phone with her. To the best of our memories, the conversation went something like this.

D: Hey Amber. It’s D. Do you remember me?
Amber: Yes, I remember you.
D: So what’s going on?
Amber: What do you mean? I can give you the house phone number if you want to talk to mom {my cell phone is currently messed up}
D: No, that’s ok. Would you like to sign up for an American Express card?
Amber: Ugh…
D: Are you over 18?
Amber: No.
D: Ok, thanks anyway, talk to you later.

So, Jay, Amber and I all thought this was just weird. As far as we know, D didn’t work for American Express {or any other credit card company, for that matter}. All she has ever done as far as we know is waitress or sell cars, all service industry type jobs, so it does seem that working in telesales could be a natural progression in her career path. At any rate, we didn’t want to continue to think the worst, so, the next day I decided to ask her about it on Facebook.

And apparently she didn’t appreciate me questioning her line of work one bit.

Tips To Prevent Your Minor Child From Being A Victim Of Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft

Okaaaayyyy…. sorry I asked.

Skip This Part If You Are Not About The Family “Back Story”…

I am still puzzled as to where she got that “goddaughter” thing. Perhaps I talked to her about it years ago and don’t recall it now? However, through years of separation, I am not sure how she could figure that was still the plan today, should something happen to Jay and myself. At any rate, if it was so important to her, why did she not try to continue a relationship with Amber {“Do you remember me…”}? She apparently had her phone number all these years and knows how to operate a phone, so….

Also, if D was so concerned with the “back story” why has neither of us heard from her in years – even when Amber was in the hospital getting her appendix taken out and when I had 5-6 months of physical therapy a few years ago? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Oh, and Amber is seeing a cardiologist soon for another issue completely {which I have not blogged about yet} and we heard nada. But signing up a minor for an American Express card is apparently a topic of epic and and immediate importance that cannot wait.

Protecting Our Kids Against Identity Theft And Credit Card Fraud: Don't be passive aggressive about it

FYI: Asking straight up and obvious questions which should get you straight up and obvious answers is apparently now referred to as “passive aggression.” Glad to see I wasted all that money on a degree in Psychology – at an APA Certified school, no less. Someone is going to get a strongly worded letter over this. Seriously.

Obligatory “Back Story” Over. Continue Reading Here…

If It Walks Like Identity Theft And Quacks Like Identity Theft…

So, I am not sure what D’s motives were exactly. All we have to go on are the things she said – and questioning her further obviously helped very little. So since all I can do is go on what she said {and how defensive she got when questioned about it}, I made the decision to go on the offensive to protect my daughter.

1. I called American Express. I explained to them what happened and they assured me that D most certainly did not represent their company. They then took all of Amber’s info as well as D’s and searched the system to make sure that D did not try to take a credit card out in either Amber’s name, address or social security number. As of that call, she had not. They have assured me that we will be contacted if she attempts to as they do not take credit card fraud and identity theft lightly, especially where minors are concerned. Here are some helpful numbers for American Express, should you need them…

American Express Customer Service: 1 888 800 5234
American Express Credit Bureau: 1 800 874 2717

American Express also was very helpful in letting me know what other proactive steps I could take in protecting my daughter’s identity and credit status. Based on their suggestions…

2. I called the police. They were also very helpful as they do not take credit card fraud and identity theft lightly either. They took down all of Amber’s and D’s information, as well. Should D try to make an attempt at identity theft involving Amber, they will guide me further as to how to handle the situation. But now there is a paper trail.

3. I have reported this to the credit bureaus. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian can all put alerts on your credit history if you feel that you might be the victim of either identity theft or credit card fraud. Here are their numbers in case you need them.

Equifax: 1 800 685 1111
Experian: 1 888 397 3742
TransUnion: 1 800 888 4213

At any rate, I am not sure what D’s deal is, and since she wouldn’t just answer my questions, I will probably never know. It’s not funny or cute. At least she hasn’t called my daughter back. Perhaps she moved on to a new target?

If you have any other tips to help prevent identity theft and credit card fraud before it happens, please share them here.

Have You Ever Been A Victim Of Identity Theft? Tell Us Your Story

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time lifestyle blogger that runs the ship that is Cheap Is The New Classy. She loves to do home decor and DIY projects, organize stuff, enjoy a nice cup of coffee and travel. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, Jay, teen daughter, Amber, and too many furry {and not so furry} friends to count.

Comments

  1. Wow. How in and what world does she think it is right to ask your child this. You did exactly right!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I know! What gall. Trust though – most of my family is whack! I am just waiting for someone to call me and *attempt* to tell me off for this.

  2. That is downright CRAZY! I am so glad that you called and reported it, unbelieveable.

  3. teresa mccluskey says:

    I have not been a victim and I check my kids stuff monthly cause its something I stress on big time!

  4. That is seriously scary. I really do worry about things like this.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Me too. I wouldn’t have thought this person in question would have behaved this way or I never would have let her talk to her on the phone. One thing you can be sure of in life…there are VERY FEW people that you can trust.

  5. That is very suspect that she would call so many years after no contact and do something like that.Good to hear you reported it to everyone you could.Also is there a way you can block that number she called from on all of your phones?I have a lot of numbers blocked.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That is a great idea. I hadn’t thought about that but I will definitely check into that now. Thanks for the tip.

  6. So sorry your family had this happen and so glad you caught this early. I was a victim and mine was stolen by someone with the same name that I had (prior to being married). The best part was she worked for the law enforcement agency where I was sent to get finger printed for a job I had just gotten hired for. She was so excited to meet someone with the same name as her, little did I know I just handed her everything she needed to become me. I did not know for a few years until I applied for a mortgage – ALWAYS check your credit report. I know keep mine monitored for any change.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Oh no! Did she get in trouble for it? Or did she get away with it since she had more access to work the system?

  7. I would have been fuming!! It is bad enough when people try to steal identities from strangers–but family or close friends?And a minor to top it off— All I can say is never ever give out personal info over the phone, internet or even in person unless you are sitting in a bank!

  8. Stace Werner says:

    This is scary! I can’t believe she tried to pass it off as nothing. What was she thinking?

  9. Just terrible, and even worse that it is family doing it! So sorry you had to deal with that.

  10. That is so messed up. I have recently had some issues myself. What’s wrong with people?

  11. That’s so crazy! I would be so irritated if anyone was calling my child trying to get their info!

  12. that was super weird. keep an eye out on her credit report

  13. It’s sad that our world has come to a point that we have to worry about others stealing our identity. We always make sure to keep an eye on our bank, Paypal, and credit scores and we change our passwords ALL the time.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      It’s definitely important to change passwords a lot – and to have different passwords for every account. It’s a pain, but it’s more of a pain if your identity gets stolen.

  14. I can so relate. I’m a “out of sight, out of mind”. I know that’s not a good idea. :/

  15. This is seriously crazy. I check my account regularly, and I only have one credit card that is actually through my bank. We have no need for any other cards. I hate that someone tried to get away with this kind of fraud!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      We don’t have any credit cards. We like to try to live with as little debt as possible and a credit card doesn’t seem to help a lot with having less debt. So if one comes out in any of our names, I know who I am looking at first.

  16. wow that is scary, you did the right thing by questioning her. Someone stole my husband’s credit card info 2 times in the mail.

  17. D has a lot of nerve. Thank God she didnt do anything to your daughter’s information. Everyone does need to be on high alert..even with so called close people in your life because surprisingly those are the people that burn you!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      For real. Too often people let down their guard around those they know. It’s sad that people have to be that way.

  18. Michelle T says:

    “Don’t sorry I won’t try again.” ???? WTF is that supposed to mean?!?

  19. I got a call from Bank of America when I was 20. They told me that someone was trying to take out a loan for 25K in my name! I have had a fraud alert on my name and social ever since.

  20. Wow that is terrible! Are there any other family members you should notify that she might try and do the same to them?

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I already have. I don’t talk to a lot of my family because of various and similar reasons. However, I have already notified a lot of the people that I do, though. And people that I thought would make excuses for her and make me out to be the bad guy in this? I didn’t even bother with them.

  21. What a bizarre conversation with the estranged family member. Identity theft is so very scary!

  22. Wow that is just crazy. I think she would be blocked from calling us any more.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Yeah, we blocked her on social media, too. Even *if* she wasn’t up to no good, just being so defensive and ugly acting makes her someone I want nothing to do with.

  23. Oh my gosh – that is just craziness! We really have to be careful who we talk to IRL, on the phone, and on social media. Scary world we live in. :(

  24. This is so scary!!! How crazy was that convo too?!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I know! I had no idea what she talking about. Who could she possibly have been “helping” with that credit card thing besides herself?

      I always love how when someone does something weird and you question them further, they act like YOU are the problem.

  25. My brother was a victim last year – but he works for the government so that didn’t go far at all. We check out statements regularly.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am glad that he was able to get hold of it quickly. Any idea what happened to the person who tried to steal his identity?

  26. Family can be a difficult thing. That is very weird that she called like that. It’s so good you protected her from that.

  27. It’s the worst when it’s family potentially trying to hurt you. *sigh* Very smart of you to take preventative measures. One messed up record can take years to fix, even if you weren’t at fault.

  28. This is the most odd thing ever. What did you expect, your daughter to be like, “yeah I totally want a CC. here’s my info!” What the heck!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I know. I am so glad she didn’t do that. Amber just seemed really weirded out by the call, as well she should have been. I raised a smart girl, if I do say so myself. ;)

  29. Amber B says:

    This is crazy I would have reported it too. You can never be too cautious now a days. You know it can happen to anyone but you never really think that some would try to make you the victim of identity theft.

  30. That is really scary! I really need to pull my credit report. I haven’t in a year or so

  31. Yes, I’ve had my debit card number stolen twice – the first time, I found out when a laptop arrived at my house. The thief had tried to order it with my card and address but with a different “Ship to” address, but for the security purposes I guess the company only allowed it to be mailed to the card owner address…so one day a laptop shows up at my house with my name and someone elses’ phone number. It was a little like the success kid meme, because this was about 6 years ago and I was still going off my paper statements and didn’t use online banking for much. My card number had been compromised for a month before I got my statement and saw it! Now, of course, I check my online banking statements constantly.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Wow! That is crazy. That identity thief must have been really disappointed to suck so bad at it.

  32. Wow, scary to think about! I think you did the right thing

  33. Identity theft is a real and serious problem. We must do what we can to protect ourselves.

  34. Wow, that is crazy. I think it is important to check your credit at least 3 times a year. That is sad that even family members would try to do that. My husband has had his credit card number stolen before and thankfully the bank was diligent and caught it before the person was able to purchase anything.

  35. Fortunately at this time, I have not been a victim of identity fraud. But I did work for a credit card company for a few years after high school, and I heard a lot of very harrowing stories. It’s something you really need to be vigilante about!

  36. Amy Desrosiers says:

    Yeah, I think this person was a bit nuts!? I try to protect my kids identity bu not signing up for things in their name, and by not posting their names everywhere.

  37. That is such a bizarre story! Thanks for sharing and making us aware that anyone can be a victim of identity theft!

  38. my jaw dropped. holy hell.

    i am SO glad you took these steps!!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Mine, too! Honestly, I still can’t believe this happened. I want to believe that the family member in question wasn’t really up to no good, but then I look at the evidence and I can’t really see any other way this could have been going. Ugh….

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