Friday, November 24, 2006


We have been the victims of identity theft. As identity thieves go, our has fairly low ambitions. Given the relatively small numbers involved, people think it must one of our kids. Given the sorts of purchases that were made, we don't.

Hubby thinks that his information (it has all been in his name) was stolen through his computer.

I suspect my children's friends. I especially suspect Evan's friends. After all, I don't know them; they are easy to suspect.

All of this has left me feeling violated and frustrated. I have learned that if you want to put a fraud alert on your account and you are married you must do it twice -- once for each of you. I have learned that you can do it only after you have been a victim. You cannot require creditors to verify that it is really you unless someone has already made an attempt. Initial alerts are for 90 days and you can get those just by asking for them (and telling them that you have reason to believe you are the victim of an attempt). You can also get a seven-year alert, but that requires having filled out a report with a law enforcement office.

What the credit reporting agencies want you to do is is to pay them $10/month to keep a close watch on what is happening in your credit.

Now I like to keep this blog about foster care, so why am I writing to here about it?

Because if you are the victim of any sort of crime your foster children will be considered guilty until proven innocent.

It is possible of course that they are guilty, of course. They will however not be given the benefit of the doubt by your family or law enforcement or anyone. No matter how many times you say, "But Evan would want to buy anything from an auto-parts store" people will continue to think it is him. Although it does help if you can at least confess to suspecting their friends.

So here's the deal: you need to decide how much security you are going to put in place to protect yourself from theft and them from suspicion. In our house security measures include:

1. Keyed locks on every bedroom door (I have keys to them all).
2. A mailbox that can only be opened with a key, although the key in on a hook where anyone inside the house can get it.
3. Out-going mail always gets mailed from a secure drop-box or from our work-places.
4. We shred all financial documents before throwing them away, although they do end up piled up for a while before we get around to shredding them.
5. For a while, but not recently, I was very good about locking my purse in a toolbox whenever I came in the house. All our prescription meds are kept in a locked tool box.

Other families have a room, their bedroom or their office, in which everything is kept and whose door is kept locked. That is an elegant solution and one which we are considering. It would have to be our bedroom and one of my biggest reservations in the poor kitty cat who likes to sleep on our bed. Okay that and the fact that I would have to replace my lovely antique glass door knob and skeleton key lock with something contemporary and ugly.

Some families do not allow the kids to be in the house unless an adult is there.

I don't like this. I don't like that it is has happened and I don't like suspecting my kids and their friends.

I know we won't let kids stay here alone while we go on vacation again. It is not just that they might do something; it is that if anything happens everyone will think it is them.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry...

    What a pain! Seems there are very few protections in place for victims of identity theft. That is, of course, why it's such a problem...

    Good luck in straightening it all out. You have my sympathies!


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