Recently, a meeting was called for in the main conference room in my company. Then an announcement was made. A laptop or disk (cannnot remember) was stolen from another office (branch) in another state. The list contained a list of employees from our office! We were told that though there was a potential identity theft situation, the chances were pretty remote.
Apparantly, the disk was encrypted. Furthermore, a sample of the encrypton was given to every IT and security personel and none of them could break the code. The company’s thoughts are that the disk was stolen for resale value!
However, as a precaution, we were all asked to inform the credit bureaus and be put on “fraud alert”. So I called up TransUnion. The call was pretty interesting to say the least. I asked a series of questions and had to key in the answer on the phone. I had to key in my social security number, my zip code and probably (can’t remember precisely) my phone number. When the process ended, I was told that I need not inform the other two credit bureaus as this has automatically been done. It was a strange experience to say the least because it was all totally automated and I could not even speak to an operator or customer service representative even if I had wanted to. I was a little apprehensive.
However, I soon received letters from the credit bureaus stating that I had requested to be put on fraud alert. At least, the fraud alert procedures was working.
We were also offered a free one-year subscription to one of the 3-in-1 monitoring service, but I have not done so as I frequently check my reports (once a year with each agency).
This whole incident simply highlights how vulnerable we are to identity theft. Though I have not had my identity stolen, this episode shows it could happen even without me being at fault.