Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet the Moron.

A couple weeks ago, there was an ad in our local paper looking for a personal care assistant. I studied it a bit sceptically, because the pay was more than you'd expect to see for the position. In the end, I applied, attaching a professional resume. I also provided my certification and licensure information.

I never heard anything back and figured that it was not for real.

Yesterday, I did receive a response. The response was from someone who does not speak English as a first language, provided a phony web address for their business. The fictitious name (Conti Fibre) is actually a brand name for a clothing fiber from the UK. They talked about a "mystery" job, telling me that once I provided them with more information about myself they would send me envelopes of cash which I was free to spend over the course of the mystery assignment, no questions asked. The only requirements to this job is that I was to follow the instructions provided with the envelope of cash very carefully.

My heart dropped. I had just provided a professional resume to a scammer. I looked over what I had sent, and was dismayed to note just how much personal information there is on a resume.

The fact is, had I seen this advertisement online, I would have never responded to it. I'd have figured it was a scam right away. But the fact that it was in our local paper meant to me that the people had to provide a name and address, as well as valid credit card information to place the ad.

Turns out that the ad was taken in the classified department of an affiliated newspaper, and was not properly verified. The ad was pulled after running one day, I suppose when the credit card did not process.

I feel that it's important to put some sort of disclaimer out there for others who were taken in by this ad, but the newspaper does not seem to feel that they are responsible, seeing as how the ad was not placed in their office. They did say that law enforcement would be involved at the point of origin, meaning that the investigation would be initiated by the office that took the ad.

I think that their response is disappointing, to be sure.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and I can never quite understand how a person gets caught up in scams to begin with, so it is a little mindboggling to find myself in that position.

We got ID theft insurance through the Dave Ramsey show immediately. The only thing we can do is sit back and wait to see what happens next.


Mrs. Spit said...

You aren't a moron. They are just very, very, very good.

I don't know what the insurance through Dave Ramsey is (and I'll be honest, I'm immediately skeptical of it). Where you can prove your identity is compromised, Credit agencies and bureaus are obligated to remove any and all inappropriate credit instruments. You might have to stomp your feet, but this is the obligation. You shouldn't need insurance. No one can lodge an official complaint other than you, so any services someone might offer are useless. You will have to do the legwork anyway.

Do write, and send by registered letter, a note to all of the American credit bureau's (transunion, equifax and experion) telling that you have been exposed to identity theft and asking them to flag your credit bureau.

Flagging your credit bureau will cause them to scrutinize any requests for personal credit much more closely.

Then, for the next 2 years, write and request a copy of your credit bureau. This will include a historical list of everyone who has checked your credit rating and any credit instruments held in your name. (If you have a nice friendly person at a bank, they can sometimes discretely do a "soft" pull from a bank. You want a "soft" pull). You are looking for a credit instrument you didn't authorize or request, or strange looking requests.

If you haven't seen anything in two years, don't worry.

jeanie said...

It is horrible that people do this - and wonderful that the above has such great advice - and awful to contemplate that, to have such good advice, it has happened to others...

Mary O. Paddock said...

You are not a moron. The ad sounded legitimate and anyone can make this kind of mistake, regardless of how savvy they are.

If you're worried about the possibility of identity theft, do contact your bank, etc, and make them aware of the possibility of suspicious activity. It's possible they'll want to change some numbers (account#, etc). It's a hassle, I know but it's better than the alternative.

Watch your credit card statements online--in fact most of them offer alerts that let you know that there's been activity on your card.

Many, many years ago, someone absconded with my social security number, which I didn't find out until after I got married and went to open a joint checking account. The name of the man who was using it turned out to be the same name as someone I'd gone to college with. He would have worked in the financial aid office. The folks at Social Security were fantastic. I even got a follow up letter letting me know what happened.

It you're worried about it, give them a call and see if there's a way for them to flag your number.

Bill of Wasilla said...

When I saw your title today, I thought I would find a link to me.

I doubt you have too much to worry about, but I can see why would be worried.

BB said...

The paper's publishers should be held accountable I reckon...