We wrote about Eric Drew a few weeks ago—his personal information was stolen by a shady lab technician while he was undergoing treatment in 2004.
When Eric Drew was in the hospital being treated for leukemia five years ago, a lab technician stole his personal information and began opening up credit card accounts in his name.
“Why can’t I get my credit report?” one of our 16-year-old readers (obviously precocious in the personal finance responsibility department) wanted to know. It seems if someone under 18 tries to get it online, say through annualcreditreport.com, they’re told no. It turns out you can order your report, you just need to do it by an old-fashioned letter. You’ll want to to include in your request your name, address, and Social Security number. This is good not just for go-get-em kids like our reader who want to make sure no one is buying a $40,000 boat with their credit, but also parents who want to protect their children from identity theft. The addresses for each of the bureaus follow.
A slate of companies legitimately profit from identity theft by offering services that the three credit reporting agencies refuse to make easily accessible to consumers. The Times brings us the stories of three such companies that are sucking the venture capital teat all the way to market:
How filing a fraud alert with each of the three major credit bureaus works, as told by a blogger who recently had to go through the process. [No Credit Needed]
All three credit reporting agencies recently announced plans to let consumers freeze their credit files. Credit freezes provide security at the cost of convenience: access to credit reports and scores is prevented without the consumer’s express authorization, making it difficult to open new accounts or lines of credit. Freezes are considered one of the best, albeit drastic, ways to guard against identity theft.
Beginning October 15th, credit reporting company TransUnion will let consumers freeze their credit reports, which means imposters will not be able to use your credit to do things like open new phone accounts or sign up for credit cards. While this is great news, the other two major credit reporters, Experian and Equifax, are so far not offering a similar feature, although they say they’re considering it.
Updated old Reach TransUnion Executive Customer Service post with new information: Cindy Hennessey, assistant to David Wolff, VP of Consumer Service. (312) 985-2000, press 2, dial extension 3802
If you haven’t been able to solve your TransUnion credit report problems through normal channels, you can escalate your issue to their executive customer service team. Here’s the info.
We think we have a new favorite “go screw” line from a company: We understand that the privacy and security of your information is important to you; therefore we cannot provide a specific reason as to why we cannot fulfill your request. That just punches a steaming hand, Fist of the North Star style, right through the sternum of our old fave, We appreciate your concerns.