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Regarding Identity Theft:

Displaying poll results.
I have been a victim, but only minor consequences
  3955 votes / 21%
I've been a victim, suffered moderate consequences
  765 votes / 4%
I've been a victim, and suffered severe problems
  218 votes / 1%
Never, to my knowledge, been an ID theft victim
  12033 votes / 63%
Yes, Ma'am -- CowboyNeal is my middle name.
  1839 votes / 9%
18810 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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Regarding Identity Theft:

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  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:27AM (#41449959)

    I don't think it exactly counts as identity theft, but it is identity misplacement.

    My Mom was the executrix of the estate of a friend of hers. As such, she reported the death to the SSA. Apparently, the form for that has a space for the SSN of the deceased and one for the person reporting the death, and somewhere in the transcription process the two were reversed. SS benefits were cut off -- among other inconveniences -- until Mom could prove that she was not dead, which is not as easy as proving that someone is dead.

    So it wasn't strictly theft of identity, but the effects and the hassles of fixing it were similar.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:32AM (#41450049) Homepage Journal
    I've had store card incidence...old Sears card..where someone had gotten a CC as me...and started charging..mostly for gift so bold that at the end, even quit signing my my name and apparently started signing their own (I saw copies of the receipts).

    They were nice about dropping it all off my name once they saw I lived in a completely different state than where the card was applied for, etc.

    One time, I was getting ready for work, and the DMV in another state (FL) called to ask if I was Mr. XYZ.

    I said yes...and the short version of the story was, they said a large, long haired biker type with tatoos and scars....had a copy of my birth certificate, my SS #, and a copy of my college transcript...and was applying for a drivers license as me.

    They said they were puzzled at the FL DMV....about a flag showing my license was still active in a different state.

    The lady told me they were actually about to go ahead and give the guy a drivers license as me....but apparently it was taking too long and the guy freaked out and ran out, leaving all the materials there.

    It was only then that the FL DMV started looking into the matter...called my states DMV and got ahold of me. This guy would have used that DL to likely apply for and get credit cards in my name.

    So, now....well, I try to be careful, and my one main rule of thumb is.....

    I don't give my fucking Social Security number to anyone if it isn't related to SS taxation. Period. The only exception is for the occasional credit check...if I want a home mortgage, etc.

    I don't give it out to medical insurance co's....I don't give it out to utility takes some arguing at times...but they can and will generate you a different ID number, and on occasion, I had to leave a measly $100 deposit when moving to a new community where I had no track record with the power company. But, it is important to me.

    If you're in the US, it should be important to you too. I've been VERY lucky that the ID theft hasn't caused me the hassles it has pays to know the importance of "not being seen".

    Likely all of an associated reason I don't participate in any social networking like FB or twitter...or Google+....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:37PM (#41455357)

    True story - my sister had her identity stolen by an illegal immigrant.
    Her credit score went up, because the thief got a job and was a hard worker.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:40PM (#41455397)

    I don't give my fucking Social Security number to anyone if it isn't related to SS taxation. Period. .... I don't give it out to medical insurance co's....I don't give it out to utility companies....

    Yes! And I blame the insurance/utility companies for this crap
    They are asking for things they are not entitled to and most people sheepishly assume they should give that info. The dental office had more or less admitted (when asked!) that they don't _have_ to have my SSN and the likeliest use for this information is to be able to easier collect unpaid bills from me.

    It should be illegal for any business to ask for un-needed information. Utility companies should be fined for requesting your SSN!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @05:34PM (#41456173)

    Identity heft? What, someone steal the "t" or does an identity have weight? Or is it about the differentiation between an identity of a human being and a soulless corporate entity?

  • by Bramlet Abercrombie (1435537) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @05:53PM (#41456387)
    When I went to community college they used our SS numbers as our Student ID number. They have since stopped doing this for obvious reasons.
  • by jrifkin (100192) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @08:05PM (#41457961)

    About 8 years ago someone had installed a password logger on Sourceforge's ssh server. It stole my password when I ssh'd back to my work computer. About a month or so later the hacker released all the stolen accounts and passwords on a hacker site. That day four different people tried to log into my computer. I say tried because two failed, but two succeeded. The second guy in noticed the first guy already there, so he killed his rival's session and quickly changed my password, which is why the last two couldn't log in. More evidence that there's no honor among thieves. The guy next tried to run a few root exploits, but they failed - I kept my Linux box up to date. Eventually he quit. He left behind no damage other than a few exploit files and a changed password.

    My first inkling that something was wrong was when my user login password didn't work. I figured it was a corrupted file, so I just worked around it, logged in as root and gave myself a new password.

    About 15 minutes later I read that day's Slashdot, and I read about the Sourceforge hack, and put two and two together. So I went back through my system logs and the ipaudit logs that I had. Then I had a good laugh over the story they told.

  • by multimediavt (965608) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @11:07AM (#41464407)
    AFAIK, it's now illegal (as of some time in the 1990s, couldn't find the law as Google returned all this political crap about Social Security) in the U.S. for anyone but the Social Security Administration and the IRS to use your SSN for any reason, or even to request it in the case of other (fed, state, local) government agencies (Privacy Act 1974). I removed it from my checks a loooooong time ago and I know from working in several retail outlets that you are no longer allowed to ask for it for any reason. If you've given it to anyone other than the two agencies above that was your fault. The answer is "No, you may not have my social security number." Possibly, followed by, "I need to speak with your supervisor, right now." Now, banks use it and need it because of the IRS link. Employers, for both the SSA and the IRS. Beyond that, no one need know it, nor has the power to ask-let alone demand-it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @12:18PM (#41465197)

    On the other hand if someone opened _another_ credit card or took a loan in your name, then it would take you a lot more than 1 phone call to deal with this issue. Your credit history might take years to recover.

    Which is exactly what happened to me.

    My wife and I were separated and she made me move out of the marital residence. She stopped forwarding my mail and never answered requests for my mail, so I filed a forwarding at the post office without telling her.

    Amongst the first mail I get is a letter from a credit card company I had no prior business with requesting more information for a recent card application. I immediately called and informed them that the application was fraudulent and demanded a copy of that application. I found that she had stolen my mail, opened a credit card offer addressed to my name, forged my signature on the application, and attempted to open a $12,000 credit card behind my back in my name with herself as authorized user. I went through the roof.

    I then complained to the postmaster and filed a fraud alert to the credit reporting companies, which effectively stopped any new accounts from being opened without my consent. I changed the payroll direct deposit to an account under my direct control. But she had already damaged my credit history with late payments on credits and the mortgage. That took YEARS to clear off my record.

    When I told her what I had uncovered, she tried to file another forwarding on my mail. But the postmaster intervened and refused to follow through on the forwarding.

    Had I not filed that forwarding, those new credit cards would had arrived at the marital residence without my knowledge, she would had maxxed them out, and I would had been stuck with the bill. She was trying to put a millstone around my neck that would put a drag on paying for a divorce lawyer. This all came out in the divorce trial and the judge was so impressed that I literally got to name my terms.

    I found out later after the trial through my attorney that she stiffed HER divorce lawyer refusing to pay the $30,000 outstanding bill. $30,000 is no small claims court, that's criminal court territory. No law office would represent her after that. And the IRS went after her for failing to report alimony income over a five year period, which is back taxes+interest+penalties for over $100,000 in unreported income. Needless to say, she's a piece of work.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @06:44PM (#41483419) Homepage
    Blue Cross used to use SS numbers as your account number! They changed a few years ago, but I wonder how much damage was done.

    It's been years since I had mine on my drivers license, but most people still do. Isn't a photo good enough?

    The worst case was one time when a Papa John's driver asked me for my SS number. I told him to leave my property. I should have shot the bastard. I complained to the company, but I wonder how many identities he stole before he was fired (IF he was fired).

    My SS card is old enough to have written on it - Not To Be Used For Identification.

The trouble with being punctual is that people think you have nothing more important to do.


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