Identity Theft of Kids:
Fox and Friends
This weekend I hopped the train to NYC to be a guest with Clayton Morris on Fox and Friends, seen on the Fox News Channel. Now this wasn't a usual guest spot that I might do on tv talking about products on the market or the usual I do with Real Mom Media. But this was the story of a real mom...who will shout her story from the rooftops if it helps one person from the hassle.
That mom is ME.
Back in March of 2009 I got a call from Target wanting to verify that I was trying to open up a credit card with them online. We obviously didn't have any Target cards nor did I ever want one. That little call (KUDOS to Target for doing) started a snowball effect for me and my family.
What a royal pain it has been too.
Here I am, FOUR years later and I'm still cleaning up the mess.
With over $100,000 worth of CRAP opened up in my name. From cellphones to some random candy distributor in Indiana...the bill collectors kept coming in.
The investigative reporter in me FLIPPED OUT. I was able to get more information from one of the collectors that gave me a 314 area code phone number. The person who stole my identity used an old address I had where I lived for 6 months in St. Louis, Mo. 314 is the area code there. I wasn't sure if the number would work - but I gave it a shot.
A MAN: 'Hello?'
ME: 'Hi. Can I speak to Joey Fortman?'
THE JERK: 'This is Joey Fortman.'
ME: 'No! I'M JOEY FORTMAN! YOU STOLE MY IDENTITY!!!'
Granted. Never smart to try and take the law into your own hands. And needless to say-I had more choice words to say to him than that...but we'll leave it at that.
Next thing I knew-he turned off the phone. Fast forward.....
Through all this I was also able to uncover that someone (probably not the same person who stole my identity) tried to open a credit card account in my then 2 year olds name. I was LIVID when I came across that.
I now have tight security on ALL of my family. And as I'm still getting calls from creditors and have to rehash the hell of identity theft time and time again - I want others to learn from my experience.
My NUMBER ONE TIP I can give you is this - PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY!!!! Don't think it won't happen to you...
Along with Joe Mason, author of the book Bankrupt at Birth: Why Child Identity Theft Is On The Rise & How It's Happening Under Parents' Noses.