Photo Credit: Mashable.ComAs many of you already know....I've been a victim of identity theft. (And another factor into my post-partum depression...For REAL identity loss!)  I get the question and the gasps alot-and I thought I'd share my story with you so YOU can avoid the same thing.

This started in March of 2009. 

I had gotten a phone call from Target wanting to verify my online request for a credit card.

Ugh-huh?  I didn't request for a credit card!  I don't have one, don't want one & how did you get my number!?!?!?

So I called them back and talked to someone about it and that's where the mega hell began.

And I'll tell you up front.  It was and IS STILL a pain in the a$$. 

I contacted the credit bureaus and about threw up.

This person opened up credit cards ONLINE at about 20 different stores. From a candy company in Indiana ($2500) to a jewelry store in West Palm Beach ($3000).

The investigative reporter in me GOT PISSED.  Royally.  And I wanted to get down to the bottom of it.

I was able to obtain the phone number of this fool person and called and asked for "Joey Fortman".


I said "No, I'm Joey Fortman and YOU STOLE MY IDENTITY!"

Of course, I'm well aware of how STUPID that was.  I immediately freaked out.  This guy has my name, social, all my addresses....MY PARENTS!  I started to freak that he might harm my parents. 

Of course if you know anything about ID theft-they aren't out to do that.  The 'pros' if you will, get thousands of social security numbers and crosses them off when they get caught, or don't work. 

What this man did-was BUY my social from a BANK that I once belonged to.  I don't know which one-but I hate to break it to you.  There are LOTS of people who work at companies that SELL that info for $$.  Yes, that's illegal. But if they don't get caught?!?!?!  (And some do get caught.  That's the ones when you hear 'such and such security has been breached' either online or in news.)

Turns out, I had to obviously get a police report.  (Yes, having an officer in my neighborhood pull up to my Desperate Housewives Lane was fun.  I could feel the eyeballs on my cul de sac! haha).

I filed this police report and had to send a  copy of it to all the places that was stolen.  There was one credit card company that represented about 6 of the companies that cards were opened in equalling to about $60,000.  (Yes.  That's not a typo.)

I spent hours upon HOURS on the phone with people...and sadly, even today-there are a few still out there.

One thing that was frustrating was that this IDIOT who stole my identity-opened up not 1-but 2 cell phones from the exact same company that I use!!  AT&T!!!  (And yes.  That was the number that I called.  I owned that damn thing.)  At&t made it difficult for me.  When I called them-I told them my identity was stolen-they could look up this phone and know that DUH-I live in Pennsylvania..not Missouri!!  And they said 'they have to have proof because I could have opened a phone for a family member.' GRRRRR.  (The bill-$2500)

Now mind took me MONTHS, HOURS, WEEKS to get this 'pseudo' resolved.

And the outcome for this jerk?  Nothing.

Nearly $100,000 later.... NOTHING.

There were amazing, disappointing and very frustrating things along the way that I learned.

These all came from my investigator-so if you're a victim-they may or may not pertain to where you are.

-- Unless the state that the individual who lives that stole your identity wants to follow suit, they can not take it across state lines.

-- The reason why we get HOUNDED as college kids or out shopping to sign up for a credit card is because the person soliciting just has to 'seal the deal' to get their bonus points.  They don't do proper protocol many times to verify your identity.

-- There are certain companies (may have changed-but at the time Best Buy was one of them) that does NOT have to check your id when you give them a card.

**One BIGGY to keep in mind-if they are buying something online (which is what EVERYTHING stolen from me was taken place) there is no security check.  Until YOU the consumer throw up a red flag.

What you can do:

-- Contact the 3 credit companies & sign up for alerts (where they call you directly before registering.)

I know. It's a royal pain to get annoyed with it.  But I'm telling you...that 2 minute phone call is MUCH better than the 200 hours of phone calls I've been through!!!

I was turned on to share this today because of an article I saw on Mashable.

I can't even begin to tell you had bad it is.

PLEASE protect YOU and your FAMILIES identity!!  (Kids too.  I had a credit card on my acct. opened when I was 7 years old.)

***Leave me a comment if you have a question or shoot me an email!