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Credit Industry Opposes Anti-ID Theft Method 434

Posted by kdawson
from the frozen-out dept.
athloi alerts us to an opinion piece running in USA Today on the backlash against an effective tool to fight identity theft. The big three credit bureaus don't like the numerous state laws that have been passed requiring them to give consumers a simple way to freeze their credit. Watch for a push at the federal level to get a watered-down statute that pre-empts state laws. "Lawmakers across the country — pushed by consumer advocacy groups — ... have passed laws that allow consumers to freeze their credit, a surefire way to prevent thieves from opening new accounts or obtaining a mortgage in a consumer's name. Under a freeze, a consumer cuts off all access to his credit report and score, even his own. All lenders require that information, so no one can borrow money in the consumer's name until he or she lifts the freeze. It's simple, and it works. So, of course, it's under threat from the Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the Big Three credit bureaus. They make millions gathering and selling consumer data. Freezes cut into that business."
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Credit Industry Opposes Anti-ID Theft Method

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  • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:54PM (#19733223)
    Another happy side-effect of freezing your credit: No snail-mail spam about preapproved credit offers. It's saved me much over the last year in time devoted to shredding.
    • by j.sanchez1 (1030764) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:59PM (#19733299)
      According to this [consumersunion.org], the following states have this Credit Freeze option open to their residents. Use it while you can.

      Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

      It also lists fees and such.
      • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:26PM (#19733701) Homepage
        The good news is that I'm in one of those states. The bad news is that there are fees involved. I don't care if the fee is even $1. These credit people have fashioned an industry for themselves based on the [abuse of the] social security number and my personal information. They make a LOT of money from my information and while some laws move to help balance the situation, the benefit is still all theirs. They shouldn't require that I pay them ANYTHING to access, sell or otherwise make my information available to anyone.

        That said, I plan to get my credit locked up anyway. Not that I'm at risk for anything at the moment... I'm not rich, my credit's not great and after I paid off my last car, I don't deal much in debt financing any longer. After going mostly cash-only, I find myself rather free and I've got more money in the bank than I've ever had. (I think between a savings account and a credit account, I think most people will agree which is more better in the long run.) Perhaps I'll stop getting all those damned credit card offers in the mail as well!
        • by hazem (472289) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:20PM (#19734377) Journal
          The bad news is that there are fees involved. I don't care if the fee is even $1

          Well, you know, if you say had an attache case in your car that had a copy of your taxes. Then suddenly you had to go inside the house for a minute. Then you come back out and the bag is gone, voila, you're a victim of identity theft. All you need is a police report that describes said events.

          Of course, I'm not advocating filing a false police report because that is a crime.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by packeteer (566398)
            If you are a victim of identity theft you will have a flag on your credit possibly forever. It is best to just avoid it and pay the fee, you would otherwise end up paying more if you ever want a loan.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MontyApollo (849862)
        An alternative method to effectively freezing your credit is to max out all of your 8 credit cards. It generally works in all states, though your mileage may vary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MontyApollo (849862)
        It is interesting that in a few of the states listed, only identity theft victims (with a police report) can get this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It is interesting that in a few of the states listed, only identity theft victims (with a police report) can get this.
          What's scary is that, in the states not listed, you can't get a credit freeze even if you *are* the victim of identity theft with a police report!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:00PM (#19733305)
      I still don't understand why this is even necessary.

      How about this: Any lender that opens a line of credit must PROVE that the person they say they opened it for actually opened it.

      That doesn't mean you can just say, "Well, I have this social security number, date of birth, and a name - that's enough right?"

      I'm talking "You want credit? Let me get you to fill out this application and have it notarized. Otherwise, no credit for you."

      Anyone lender who can't PROVE they have the persons permission CAN NOT LEGALLY post any negative credit information anywhere and can not try to collect on any debts supposedly owed.

      Does anyone really think it is ok to just allow lenders to defame the name and credit history of anyone unlucky enough to have their SSN stolen?

      The blame for stolen identities falls SQUARELY in the hands of those who allow those stolen identities to be used.
      • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:05PM (#19733367) Journal

        Does anyone really think it is ok to just allow lenders to defame the name and credit history of anyone unlucky enough to have their SSN stolen?

        More to the point, our credit heavy soceity has allowed less then honest companies to blackmail consumers that have legitimate business disputes by threatening to sour your credit report. In the old days if you had an honest dispute with a company and refused to pay them they could sue you and both sides would get their day in court. Now they can just insert an item into your credit file, wait until you are denied employment/that mortgage/security clearance/etc/etc and know that you will pay up because they basically have you by the balls.

        No due process of law and the burden of proof is on the consumer to prove that the derogatory information is false -- not on the company to prove that it's true.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anon-Admin (443764)
          Denied employment and security clearance are not a big issue. They do not check your score and decline you. They check for patterns of abuse that would appear to be fraudulent but legal within the system. For example, Max out credit, divorce giving credit bills to the husband, husband files bankruptcy, wife (with clean credit) starts getting cards, couple gets remarried, works on wife's credit, once the 7 years are up they go back to square 1. Another they look for is pyramiding of credit cards.

          The truth, a
          • by Schmendr1ck (658453) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:51PM (#19734025)

            Incorrect.

            I work for a DoD contractor and possess a security clearance. One of my coworkers lost a clearance based solely on filing for personal bankruptcy protection. It had nothing to do with a "pattern of abuse"; legitimate personal circumstances forced this person to make that decision.

            Security clearances are denied or revoked based on risk to the government. Poor credit puts you in a high-risk group because (so the theory goes), you are more vulnerable to take money in exchange for classified information. And individual situations are rarely taken into account - if your credit report fits the profile for vulnerability, you don't get a clearance.

            A credit report doesn't just affect your ability to get a loan. In some fields, bad credit (valid or not) can severely limit your employment options. Yet another reason to rebalance the laws in favor of the consumers.

          • by griffjon (14945)
            Not true - credit scores affect everything from card rates if you have to carry a balance to things as distant as car insurance premiums.
            • I call BS on you.

              Who needs Credit Cards? What Do I care if they offer me 19.9% or 10 points over the highest prime rate listed in a three month period in the midwest edition of the wall street journal? Live with in your means and it is not an issue!

              As to car insurance, the only time the premiums go up is if they are extending you credit. If you pay monthly on you insurance, sure the amount you pay will go up. If you pay for the policy up front (6 months at a time), it goes down.

              The point is that you do not
      • by E8086 (698978)
        I wonder how easy it is to freeze someone else's credit.
        If we happen to be in the market to some property in the same area and both make an offer for the same one and I know that you are going to need a loan to buy what would it take for me to put a freeze on your credit and leave you unable to unfreeze it?
        Or I identity theft you then freeze your credit. Plenty of room for abuse either way.
    • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:00PM (#19733307) Journal

      No snail-mail spam about preapproved credit offers. It's saved me much over the last year in time devoted to shredding.

      Actually, most freeze laws (at least the one in New York, which I'm most familiar with) do not stop the pre-approval offers that are clogging your mailbox. The most effective way to do this is to "opt-out" with all four CRAs. You can do that here [optoutprescreen.com]. A five year opt-out is completely online. For a permanent one you need to sign a letter and mail it back to them. This is what I did.

      Regardless of whether or not you freeze your credit (not everybody can) everybody should do this. Opt-out with all four agencies and follow up with them a few months later to make sure they actually did it. Three (Trans Union, Equifax, Innovis) processed it properly for me but Experian never did until I followed up with them.

      • by Applekid (993327)
        Hmmm... the two (freezing and the drying up of preapproved credit) had correlation, but, to be fair, from my vantage point I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and causation. Perhaps it was just a Florida resident coincidence after all?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by crabpeople (720852)
        What a great idea! put all your personal information into a form linked from slashdot.

        but but but they have an ssl cert! it must be safe!

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @04:16PM (#19735159) Journal

          What a great idea! put all your personal information into a form linked from slashdot.

          This got an insightful mod? Give me a fucking break. Yes, I've been on /. for four years, have over 2,000 posts and good karma but I'm trying to provide a link so I can scam people's personal information! That must be it!

          You don't trust the site I linked? Go look at this one [ftc.gov] from the FTC then. It gives you a number (888-5-OPTOUT) to call if you'd rather do that then fill out the online form. It also links to a website [optoutprescreen.com], which is (surprise, surprise) the same one that I provided.

          Unless you think the FTC is providing you with a link to a phishing site I really don't see what the problem is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lgw (121541)
          Google around for the opt-out. There is certainly a real one, and it may even be the one the poster linked. I did this online and all pre-approved offers stopped within a couple of months.
    • by (H)elix1 (231155) *

      Another happy side-effect of freezing your credit: No snail-mail spam about preapproved credit offers. It's saved me much over the last year in time devoted to shredding.


      Not quite - I followed the links. For us here in MN...

      Does freezing my file mean that I won't receive pre-approved credit offers?

      No. You can stop the pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688). Or you can do this online at www.optoutprescreen.com. This will stop most of the offers, the ones that go through the credit
    • You can easily opt out: [kuro5hin.org]

      Notifying all bureaus with one phone call:

      1-888-5-OPTOUT is an automated service run jointly by the four main credit bureaus. With one phone call you can opt out of pre-screened mailings from all four bureaus.
    • Useless Freeze? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Knave75 (894961) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#19733565)
      Perhaps I am misunderstanding the situation, but I have a question. Presumably, the idea behind the credit freeze is to stop those who have stolen your identity from doing naughty things with it. However, if the would-be thief has the wherewithal to abscond with thousands of dollars under your name, would this same thief not also have the ability to remove the freeze?

      Thief: I would like to borrow $100,000 from Knave's account please.
      Clueless Customer Rep: Sorry sir, Knave has put a freeze on the account.
      Thief: I see...

      (4 minutes later, with a different clueless customer rep)

      Thief: Knave here, I would like to remove the freeze on my account, I'm buying myself a sweet car.
      Clueless Customer Rep: Very good sir, freeze ovah.
      Thief: Thanks!

      What am I missing?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Um, your second "Clueless Customer Rep" lin is incorrect, that is what you are missing. It should read a bit more like this...

        Thief: Knave here, I would like to remove the freeze on my account, I'm buying myself a sweet car.
        Clueless Customer Rep: Very good sir. Please enter your pin number to lift the freeze.
        Thief: Um, I just remembered I need to see a man about a horse. BRB.

        (P.S. I know what PIN stands for and that I don't need the word number there, but that is what the CR would say. They are clueles
    • You can also reduce the amount of credit card spam by opting out [optoutprescreen.com] with the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry.

      I have and, although I still get the occasional offer from my bank and stock broker, it has reduced the amount of credit card spam a lot.
  • naturally... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by v_1_r_u_5 (462399)
    since credit cards have absolutely no profit in preventing credit card fraud / id theft (remember, it's the merchants who get screwed), of course they're against this sort of thing.
    • It's not about credit card fraud, it's about high interest rate credit card providers who use this information to offer you cards, and credit bureaus who profit from the ability to sell your private information.
    • Re:naturally... (Score:5, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#19733567) Homepage Journal
      MasterCard and most banks spend a lot of money each year on preventing and detecting fraud. I used to work for MasterCard and can tell you they do see profit in preventing credit card fraud, and to a lesser extent id theft. If consumers lose trust in the brand name they'll hurt very bad. They track their own reported fraud rate very carefully and set a performance threshold for the department to maintain. MasterCard works closely with all of their member banks to aggregate fraud statistics and raise flags when any banks see a spike.
      • by tthomas48 (180798)
        Right they want to prevent fraud, but they don't want your credit report fixed. Those are two separate ideas. Preventing fraud makes them more money by helping their brand. Not fixing your credit report means that you get offered credit at more profitable rates which helps them make money.

        I'd highly recommend Maxed Out [netflix.com]. It's on Netflix's "Watch Now" so you can... uh... watch it now.
    • If one credit card is a normal credit card, and the other is "uber-safe for online purchases", which one do you think the average person is going to use, and run up huge debts, with?

  • stolen identity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donaggie03 (769758) <d_osmeyer@hotmai ... minus physicist> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:56PM (#19733253)
    If someone stole your identity, what is to stop them from pretending to be you in order to disable the freeze on your credit?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The freeze laws require that the credit card agencies setup a secret password that only you know. The password is never to be revealed to anyone.
      • What if you forget the password?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Good point. You can create a new password at any time. For security you will need to provide your "create new password" password.
      • The password is never to be revealed to anyone.

        You mean like the way I was never supposed to have to reveal my social security number in order to prove my identity?

  • It's cheaper (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:57PM (#19733259) Journal
    I heard that it was actually just easier for them to pay off credit card fraud in general, than to prevent it.

    Which is why they usually don't do anything to prevent it.

    Remember the guy who tore up his credit card entry form like they said to, then taped it back together, put in an old address, and a different phone number, and still got a credit card in his name?

    Yeah, the companies know how to prevent all this stuff, just it would cost more money than they lose by just eating the costs.
    • They dump it on the merchant and on you.

      They don't care about that level of fraud. They'll just sell the debt to a collection agency and you'll end up fighting the collection agency to get your credit report fixed.

      And that's for anything that they just didn't charge back to the merchants.

      Your credit should be frozen BY DEFAULT.

      The credit reporting agencies should send you a form letter EVERY SINGLE TIME anyone tries to access your info. And just include the cost of that processing in the fee they charge.

      The
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @01:58PM (#19733281) Homepage Journal
    How, exactly, do freezes legitimately cut into their business? No one is supposed to be able to get a credit report on you without your explicit authorization anyway. Any credit reports requested on you without your explicit authorization is a violation of federal law.

    The bottom line is that the Big Three credit reporting agencies are sleezebags. If they had their way, they'd have it so that anyone can put anything in your credit file they like, and anyone can request any info they like any time. They don't want you to have any control over what's in your credit file, because ultimately that is the source of their power!

    Screw this. I'm gonna go live off the grid somewhere.
    • Well, it's worse than that. In many cases, stolen credit=profit for the card companies, etc. When a merchant processes a fraudulent transaction, who do you think gets burned? Not the credit-card company. The merchant eats the transaction, and sometimes additional penalties (see: profit) for being a bad boy and accepting fraudulent cards without checking them properly... despite the fact that CC companies seem to strongly avoid implementing better ways to check against fraud.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:20PM (#19733621)
      How, exactly, do freezes legitimately cut into their business? No one is supposed to be able to get a credit report on you without your explicit authorization anyway.

      They sell solicitation mailing lists to credit card companies who specify the parameters of the consumer they're most trying to reach (i.e. Visa might want to market to current AmEx card holders with household incomes above $75,000, no late payments in the last year, and living on the eastern seaboard). That's a major source of additional income for them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      There are two types of credit queries; solicited and unsolicited. The way I understand it, the credit bureaus sell your credit ratings for unsolicited queries (which I assume contain less information) to lenders. If the lenders like what they see about you, they send you a pre-selected or pre-approved offer. If you take the bait, they then make a solicited query (which you have to approve of) which contains all of your credit information. Check out your credit report or take a home-buying class and you'
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      I'm gonna go live off the grid somewhere.

      No such thing. If the banks don't get you, the tax man certainly will.
    • by Brigadier (12956)


      simple really. They sell your name and address, ever wonder how those preapproved mailers get to your house ? equifax makes a nice dollar from selling the names of different tiers of people. By allowing people to freeze their credit those names can no longer be sold or used.
    • by KarmaMB84 (743001)
      So credit reports are their Sun, and credit freezing laws are their Kryptonite?
    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:16PM (#19734321)
      I do not think that is correct.

      I got my credit report yesterday actually (from the real site: Annualcreditreport.com NOT the scam site: freecreditreport.com)

      My credit report shows 12 promotional inquiries by businesses wishing to extend me pre-approved cards between january and may. I'm sure they paid a fee to the credit agency each time. Freezing my credit might turnoff that revenue stream.
  • Some states required that credit bureaus give consumers a four-digit number they can use to quickly unfreeze an account.

    So all that's needed is a 4 digit number to bypass the freeze ?
    • by dattaway (3088)
      So all that's needed is a 4 digit number to bypass the freeze ?

      Hopefully, its not the same four digit WEP number on my wireless router or luggage.
    • 1) Know a freeze is in place, and that's why the credit check was declined.
      2) After it fails, calmly back out of the situation to try to unlock the freeze.
      3) Attempt to provide a made-up 4-digit number, one of 10,000 possible combinations.
      4) ???
      5) Profit

      It's not like the four digit number is the last four digits of your credit card or the last four digits of you social security number (I hope, unless you're stupid). Plus, making it short means virtually anyone can memorize it and not keep a paper copy sitt
      • by Joebert (946227)

        It's like robbing a house with a barking dog - why bother when the neighbor doesn't have one?

        People only lock things when they've got somthing to hide.
        Why rob their neighbor if you know they don't have anything ?
        • by cduffy (652)

          People only lock things when they've got somthing to hide.

          Maybe if people were rational, and had the same internal cost/benefit values attached to the convenience of leaving their homes unsecured and the risk of loss, that might be the case. Thing is, people evaluate that differently; I know people who have quite nice toys and leave their doors habitually unlocked, and people who don't have all that much that's valuable but are extremely cautious about home security. In practice, the correlation you describ

        • I didn't use "high-tech security system" as my example. I specifically used "barking dog". That implies they like dogs, not that they have stuff you want to steal. You're response doesn't address what you quoted.

          Actually, the dog I envisioned wasn't even a dobie or a rottweiler or whatever you might consider a "guard dog". I was actually picturing a rat terrier - massive bark but can't do more than slobber you to death. Still very effective in keeping burglars out.
  • by Shambly (1075137) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:04PM (#19733351)
    I would be happy to have a credit freeze on all my accounts. Borrowing money is a horrible system. It works for starting a business or a mortage on a house but all the little scams like car loans and furniture store and such only encourage people to live beyond their means. Paying cash for those kinds of things is so much cheaper. Debt is a form of slavery, your no longer working for money your working so they won't take your things away. It makes it so the credit card company owns you. Sure you can be good with a credit card but they do everything in their power to make you fall in that trap so that they can milk as much money from you as possible.
    • Because what works for you should obviously work for everyone else.

      Who is smarter? The guy who blows all his cash on a sofa? Or the guy who lets his available cash earn interest while he pays off the sofa interest free for a year?

      • Who is smarter? The guy who blows all his cash on a sofa? Or the guy who lets his available cash earn interest while he pays off the sofa interest free for a year?

        Ideally, the latter option is preferable. What happens, however, if some emergency (lay-off, medical, etc.) causes a money crunch? Both of those guys are screwed. There is a third, much better option: the guy that sits on his current junky sofa while he saves up the money to purchase a new sofa while still leaving his rainy-day fund intact.

        Never p
      • The GP clearly doesn't understand the time value of money. In some cases it's cheapest to pay everything up front. But in cases where the interest owed on the the product is less than the interest you can earn in a high yield savings account, then using credit is your best friend. For example, a colleague of mine just bought a new car. He was going to pay cash because he didn't want to pay extra on interest, but the interest was below 1%. Since accounts like ING Orange Savings pay 4.5%, he found that i
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zxnos (813588)

      Paying cash for those kinds of things is so much cheaper.

      eh? my car loan is at something like 2.9%. the return on my investments is about 13%. i only buy stuff on credit that i can afford. that is, pay off tomorrow. so i could either earn 13% compounding interest on what i would have paid outright for my car, or pay cash for the car and save the 2.9% in interest on the price of the car and lose out on the 13% interest on investing that money instead? make sense? your statement makes little sense.

      now, if s

      • i could either earn 13% compounding interest on what i would have paid outright for my car, or pay cash for the car and save the 2.9% in interest on the price of the car and lose out on the 13% interest on investing that money instead?

        Unfortunately the catch is by doing so you are accepting the risk that your investment will continue to earn 13% in the future. It may be an appropriate strategy, right up until your investment earnings minus taxes is less than loan interest. This takes management and eff

    • Not entirely true. While credit card debt will get you into some serious trouble if you have too much of it, and smaller stores like furniture or electronic stores tend to have horrible interest rates and loan policies, there are many cases I've seen where the time-value of money of something like a car loan has been below that of a reasonable earning potential. If the car loan is at 6% and you're earning an average of 8% (as an example) there is no way you should pay up front even if you have the cash. I a
    • Paying cash for those kinds of things is so much cheaper

      No it's not - If you're a responsible borrower you can profit handily from these deals. Need $5000 worth of furniture? Get it now on a 'pay later' plan, and put the $5000 in an account bearing interest. You get the profit and when the furniture payment's due, just pay it. Get a "borrow at 1% interest!" offer in the mail? Borrow the money, invest it in something safe, pay it off a day before it starts charging interest and pocket the profits. You

    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      Here's what I don't get about /. All these smart people, but apparently no one can make the credit system work for them.

      Look credit is an awesome thing, you just have to use it responsibly. I buy everything on credit, but haven't carried a balance for a couple of years. When I did carry a balance, most of that was accrued during college, or in the first six months in the real world. So, basically while in college I got to bank against my future earnings, an when I graduated, I got to get nice furniture
  • I would love to be able to freeze my credit. Then whenever Joe Blow Student Loan Consolidation company and 50 of his cousins keep pinging my credit just to send me snail mail spam to sign up, it'll be ignored.
  • Anyone know which states allow this? I know the credit reporting agencies charge for a privacy service. Is this free?
  • Credit Reporters (Score:4, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:11PM (#19733485)
    I was the victim of identity theft several years ago and had a "credit lock" put on my accounts with all three credit reporting agencies. What this supposedly does is makes it so that the three agencies will contact me first before a line of credit is opened in my name. This is supposed to be in effect for seven years from the time I established it. However, since then, I have opened two lines of credit and never once been contacted them as they claimed they would. These guys feel no obligation to follow their own guidelines. Why would they follow someone else's?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Renraku (518261)
      Then I suggest you start looking into lawsuit options.

      There's no escape from the credit system, you should be entitled to quite a big payout, and I think it needs to happen.
    • Re:Credit Reporters (Score:5, Informative)

      by infinite9 (319274) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @04:31PM (#19735333)
      These guys feel no obligation to follow their own guidelines. Why would they follow someone else's?

      I had a near miss with identity theft about six years ago. The mortgage broker that sold us our house (we knew it was him, just could find him or prove it) stole our file along with a bunch of files from other people. We would check out mail to find credit card bills that were torn open, rearranged, then haphazardly stuffed back into the envelopes. We finally figured out what was happening when we got a rejection letter for a small business loan for $18,000 that was declined for a technical reason. He put my birthday down as something like 1905 for some reason. All the other info was dead on. When I called the bank, they apologized for turning me down and asked me to come in and fix the problem to get the loan.

      He must have been a novice because he made a number of other failed attempts. We ended up putting this fraud alert on our credit credit reports. Our experience has been hit or miss. For example, my wife walked into a target and spent several hundred dollars. The offered a 10% discount for applying for a credit card. She told them it would automatically deny us because if the fraud alert, but they told her she would get the discount anyway. The result: $10,000 limit on the spot with a little note that would allow her to max the card there in the store that day. Home depot gave me a little trouble though. The person behind the counter abruptly handed me the phone. The person on the phone said, "Do you know why I'm talking to you?" I told her about the fraud alert. Result: $5000 limit on the spot. At least it wasn't as bad as target. We bought a car no questions asked. Getting a cell phone contract from sprint was hell however. They kept canceling the order. The third attempt worked and they did as they should have.
  • by schwaang (667808) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:14PM (#19733531)
    As the summary said, the Consumer Data Industry Association "represents the Big Three credit bureaus". According to their membership information [cdiaonline.org], CDIA member companies are engaged in credit reporting, tenant screening, employment reporting, etc. Companies that are not eligible for membership include:
            * Commercial Banks
            * Retail Stores
            * Bankcard Issuers
            * Retail Credit Card Issuers
            * Credit Unions
            * Mortgage Brokers
            * Real Estate Agencies
            * Nonbank Banks [wtf?]
            * Savings and Loan Institutions

    So CDIA is the credit reporting agencies, plus (most likely) ChoicePoint and Axciom and other datamining privacy haters. But not credit card companies or lenders, or anyone who loses money when identities are stolen.
  • Expect the Usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#19733569)
    Expect these big three troublemakers to lobby for a weaker federal law that preempts all state regulation in the process. After all, that's the American way these days.
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:17PM (#19733577) Journal
    If you can't get additional credit then you can't get yourself further into debt, which means that credit lenders and credit checking agencies can't make more money out of you for the duration of the freeze.

    Helping people get more into debt is what these guys do. Why would they be remotely in favour of a measure that (along with helping to reduce the likelyhood of credit-related fraud) would allow you to stop yourself from spending money that you don't have and thus digging yourself further into the hole that they want you to live your life in.

    Remember, when these guys say credit they mean debt.
  • B-b-b-but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:18PM (#19733597) Journal
    I thought information wants to be free?

    Oh, not personal information, you say? Just the ones and zeroes that we want access to, not the ones and zeroes that they want access to?

    The information age is a double-edged sword. Just as we can make better purchasing decisions based on easily aggregated information, companies can make better lending/purchasing decisions based on easily aggregated information. Is there a correlation between credit scores and suitabilty as borrowers or tenants? Sure. Why should we fault the companies that operate more efficiently because they take that into consideration? And FWIW, your credit history (aside from bankruptcies) can be rebuilt in less than seven years.

    And no, it's not impossible to live without credit, you just need to make some sacrifices. It's a question of how much you value the privacy of information you choose to make public.
  • What Torques Me.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:23PM (#19733663)
    What torques me about the credit reporting bureaus is the useless information they supply.

    True case in point: My sister worked for a bank that did mortgage and consumer lending. When they pulled an applicant's credit record, that record includes everyone else who has also accessed that credit record. Although it should be illegal, they would use any reason possible to turn down someone who had recent hits on their credit reports because they didn't want to deal with customers who might be "shopping around for the best credit deal." In this circumstance, totally irrelevant credit data -- i.e. who else had accessed your credit record recently -- was used against you.

    These bastards have to go down!

    • This isn't the whole story. On your credit report are several types of data. The "who has pulled a credit report" section is divided into two subsections. One is the credit places you've contracted to run your credit. When you apply for a credit card, 90 day financing at the furniture store, "save 10% on your first old navy credit line purchase", car loan, etc. The other is credit places which run your credit without your knowledge. The unsolicited junk mail credit cards, check loans (their own circle of he
  • Anyone know the history of these "agencies" they are not part of the government right? Not regulated? Why does anyone believe them. I could create my own credit agency. The whole credit system just stinks.
  • Since TFA didn't have many details about WHY the credit groups opposed them, I'd wager at least part of it is a number of states passing similar but different laws. I'm not in the business of providing services to people in multiple states, but if I was I would sure hate the constant state vs. state one-ups-manship that forces me to add different rules for handling customers in different states.

    I'm sure they are mad because they lose potential debtors to this. It's probably the prime reason. But looki
  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:16PM (#19734319)
    I bet these 2.3 million people [sfgate.com] don't want the law weakened.
  • by Intrinsic (74189) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:25PM (#19734479) Homepage
    I'm an avid believer in minimizing my credit use. I think obtaining credit for certain things like buying a car or a house is fine, but I think credit cards give us a false sense of security. In that, it causes us to to devalue what things are worth. When you buy something with cash in hand you feel a sense of empowerment because you have the means to accomplish what you set out to do NOW. With credit you are operating at a deficiency (if you use credit cards to pay for things with money that you don't plan on having in the early future) You don't have worth to give you to the means to accomplish what you want, so you resort to sacrificing your financial future for a short term gain that isn't always quantifiable. This causes you to accumulate debt that you didn't think you would have. Now im not blaming people for this, its just the way it is and I understand that people feel like they need to obtain credit to buy in times of need, im just not sure how far you should go.

    Secondly, I think that credit report system is flawed, having lenders use it for lending purposes are certainly understandable. The problem is I don't think its a good idea to use it as an end all solution to determine if someone is legit. People change, mistakes are made and are possibly corrected. Also the big thing i have a problem is with is that it is used by non-lenders. Paying bills such as utilities and rent should not even be factored into the use of credit reports. The largest problem of all, you don't have much control over what goes on your record. Basically you are putting someone else in power of determining your creditability and that is not something you want to do.

    I'm interested in knowing if anyone would be interested in joining a grass roots effort to limit the scope of credit bureau influence.

    I'm going to setup a website put something together, please email me if you are interested
    trinsic@in-trinsic.net
  • One advantage of a debit card is that it can be "zeroed" (no balance) with a "speed dial" to the bank's automated phone "voicemail" (IVR) system. Just keep two accounts, one the pool of money, the other a "public" account for transfers. Program your mobile phone's speed dial button to dial the numbers (with pauses between menus) that transfer all the money from the public account back into the private pool. Give out only the public account#/card#. Program another speed dial button to transfer money in (mayb
  • Hop on over to GreenDimes and sign up. For $36/yr (at least that's what it cost when I signed up a few months ago), they purge your name from all these mailing-lists AND plant one tree a month in your name. So you can reduce the flow of junk (which saves trees) and have trees planted. It gets you that much closer to carbon neutrality.

    FWIW, before I signed up, I used to have my box stuffed with junk on a daily basis. Now only the occasional piece trickles in, and that's only from companies who haven't scrubbed their lists yet.

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