My daughter is 22 and she just graduated from college. We bank at a small credit union, and have for several years. Her debit card number has been stolen twice in the last three years, and fraudulent charges have been made. The last time was in May when we were in Florida. But she had her card with her the whole time! She also found out two Capitol One credit cards were opened in her name. She called to tell them it wasn’t her who opened them, and we thought we froze her credit after the Anthem data breach but obviously it didn’t work. I don’t know if we should get her Life Lock or something since these things keep happening to her.
Sounds like you and your daughter are dealing with a pretty frustrating situation. And sadly, it’s not an uncommon one. You mentioned you were baffled by how her card information could have gotten stolen in Florida when she had her card with her the whole time. This is a common misconception, your card doesn’t have to get physically stolen for your information to be stolen. Any time you swipe your card, the data associated with the card is kept in the system of where you swiped it. Often this information is not handled properly which can lead to breaches and stolen information. Especially if you are traveling, using a debit card opens you up to a lot of risk. I’m not suggesting you not use your debit card when you travel, it’s more something you should just be aware of. Even ATMs aren’t protected from this type of theft. In fact, stealing card information from ATMs has soared over the last few months.
You also mentioned you thought you froze your daughter’s credit until new cards were opened in her name. If new lines of credit were opened in her name, it means her credit didn’t get frozen properly. It’s not infallible, but if you froze her credit with all three credit bureaus, no one could have opened cards in her name. Here are the directions for freezing credit step by step. Once her credit is properly frozen other identity theft protection is unnecessary.
Identity theft is disruptive and frankly, frightening. Freeze your credit, freeze your daughter’s credit, freeze every adult in your households credit. Doing it properly with all three credit bureaus is the only way to protect yourself from this continuing to happen.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.