We all know that identity theft happens, but if you have never had the experience happen to you, then it is hard to understand just how devastating it can be. Looking at cases of identity fraud, such as the one discussed below, can help all of us understand why protecting our identity is so important.
The victims in these cases of identity fraud – Jennifer and Doug – became identity fraud victims in similar ways. Jennifer was working as the receptionist for a small company and on pay day her purse was stolen from underneath her desk. No one thought about identity theft at the time. Instead, she was more worried about her lost paycheck that, thankfully, she had not yet cashed.
Doug, on the other hand, had his debit card stolen at a restaurant. He was paying for his meal and became worried when it took longer than usual for the waitress to return with his card and receipt. Eventually, the manager had to tell him the card had somehow gotten lost.
In both of these cases of identity fraud, the identity fraud victims were caught off guard. Their concerns were more immediate: getting a replacement check and canceling the debit card. However, neither really thought too much about what else could happen. Jennifer realized something was wrong when her bank account balance started dropping unexpectedly, resulting in an overdrawn rent check. Doug noticed much faster. By the time he went home to call the bank and cancel the card, the thieves had already drained his checking account.
In a way, Jennifer and Doug were luckier than many because they found out what had happened before things progressed too far. Jennifer was able to recoup most of her losses from her checking account, including the overdraft fee. But she had to cancel the account she had for more than fifteen years, start a new one, order new checks, wait for a new debit card, and spend hours filling out fraud reports.
Doug had a much easier identity theft recovery. Thanks to the statement from the manager, the bank had no trouble returning the money stolen from his account. And the culprits were easily found and prosecuted for the crime.
Aftermath of Identity Fraud Cases
Although the immediate financial losses associated with these cases of identity fraud were taken care of fairly quickly, both of them are afraid of becoming victims again.