You’re NOT Me – My Personal Story of Identity Theft

identity theftFor years, I’ve been filing my annual income taxes online – without any issue. Since my taxes are relatively easy to prepare, tax filing sites are a major convenience. Prior year information is kept available, making the current year a breeze to complete. Once finished, all it takes is a few clicks to send directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your respective state. No printing pages of paper. No trips to the post office. And best of all, no worries that something might have gone terribly wrong. Or so I thought.

Two years ago, upon submitting electronically to the IRS, I received a rather odd email saying the forms had been rejected. Thinking I clicked something I shouldn’t have, I went back in and repeated the process – to no avail. After several additional attempts, I was forced to call the IRS. Thankfully, the email included an error code.

Naturally, I was on hold for what seemed like an eternity, only to get cut off when first reaching a rep and having to call back a second time, waiting another 30 minutes or so. Once I reached a rep, I gave them all the required info. I was immediately informed that the error code meant that I had already filed for the year and would have to send an amended tax return via regular mail. Wait. What? Who filed? Red flags went up like the American Revolution.

An investigation revealed that a month earlier someone in Florida had used my social security number to file a bogus tax return. And they received a refund! My identity had been stolen! It was the most gut wrenching, horrible feeling. I felt violated and was completely traumatized. The IRS was actually wonderful and over the next several months, they helped me file a return and set up a personal identification code (PIN) that I now use for all future filings. Although I have no idea how these criminals obtained my info, the IRS informed me that the site I had been using to electronically file my returns lacked several critical safety features and gave me the names of the safest sites to use.

In addition to the IRS PIN, my husband and I canceled all of our cards, accounts and policies and set up new ones. It took weeks of work and hours of wasted time to make sure that all of the old stuff was null and void. It was stressful and I was angry; angry that I could be taken advantage of without even knowing. I had no idea that someone had stolen and used my personal information. An entire month passed before there was any real indication.

This traumatic event brought back memories of a service that I had heard about on TV. It’s called LifeLock, which offers identity theft protection services. Although there is no surefire way to prevent all forms of identity theft, LifeLock is a strong defense in keeping your information safe. When I originally learned about the product, I scoffed, believing “it could never happen to me.” Now that it has, I encourage you to be proactive and take steps to prevent your information from being at risk. LifeLock is a great first step. Learn more about it here:

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You only have one identity. Protect it.

Disclosure: Through MommiFried, I aim to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.

Posted on by Crystal in MommiFried Extras

10 Responses to You’re NOT Me – My Personal Story of Identity Theft

  1. Michelle

    How frustrating! I am so fearful of that happening. I’m glad you were able to get it resolved!
    Michelle recently posted..Get Ready for Summer with Keurig and Brew Over IceMy Profile

    • Crystal

      Scary and very frustrating. 🙁

  2. Bev

    It angers me to no end that there are people who are so money-hungry that they would do this to someone else. What an incredibly frustrating and scaring situation that must have been; I am glad you were able to resolve it.
    Bev recently posted..Right Before My Very EyesMy Profile

    • Crystal

      I’m still angry about the whole thing. I just wish they could have prosecuted them – but they could not figure out who did it.

  3. Tamara Camera

    Wow! I would feel so…disgusted, alienated, violated. Thank you for sharing this story. People are very sick and very desperate in this world.
    Tamara Camera recently posted..The Next Time I See You.My Profile

    • Crystal

      The sad thing…They could never pinpoint and punish who did this. They gave all bogus info. So they are still out there most likely preying on their next victim. Makes me so angry.

  4. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} That had to be so incredibly stressful and violating. I remember, years ago, someone was stealing our mail, looking for checks. They opened them and left the discarded envelopes in our yard! We had to call the police and call anyone who had sent us checks to stop payment and reissue. That’s small compared to what you went through, but I can understand in some small way what you went through. I’ve heard good things about Lifelock. I know this is something I should do.
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..how to avoid a mom self-care 911My Profile

    • Crystal

      I honestly never thought it could happen to me. I felt so violated and taken advantage of. Lifelock seems to be one way to help prevent this from happening again – along with being more cautious of the sites I’m using and how I dispose of mail.

  5. Melissa perry Moraja

    So sorry you experienced that. Very frustrating and scary! I’m a children’s writer and illustrator, visiting from Facebook Frenzy and following and also “Liking” your FB! Hope you “Like” http://www.facebook.com/melissaproductions and http://www.facebook.com/thewunderkindfamily

    My blog is http://www.notyourordinarypsychicmom.com

  6. Rabia @TheLiebers

    WOW! That’s awful. I file online too. DO you mind sharing the names of the “safe” places the IRS mentioned? Now I’m worried!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Hump Day Hook Up: Julie’s Wedding 2008My Profile

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