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CATEGORY IDENTITY THEFT


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ID THEFT VICTIM STORY Identity Theft Story

We have all heard about it, a few of us have even experienced it. Identity theft is a nationwide epidemic and most of us have already taken steps to keep from falling prey to this criminal act. We have removed our social security numbers from our checks and driver license, we have even resorted to shredding our junk mail, but what about your health insurance provider? In most cases our policy or group numbers are our social security number and this is where my story begins.

Over ten years ago, while I was employed by the State of Oklahoma, I enrolled with a well known insurance provider, PacifiCare of Oklahoma. PacifiCare Inc. provides health coverage to consumers in various states like OK, TX, and CA. Remember I have not had PacifiCare insurance for over ten years, but client information remains in their computer database for certain employees to research. In 2000 a PacifiCare employee, hired through Manpower, accessed this database and began using my social security number for her own personal gain. I didn't become aware of this fraudulent activity until August of 2003, and by then the damage to my credit was quite extensive; somewhere in the neighborhood of $92,000.00. I immediately filed a police report in my home town of Purcell, Oklahoma then in San Antonio, Texas where this woman was employed. I have a case number on file with Oklahoma, Texas, and the C.I.A.

People are always asking, "How has this affected your life?" Let me tell you, unless you experience identity theft first hand you cannot fathom its totality. It does not just destroy your credit. This has affected every aspect of my life, even the lives of my children, my husband, and my parents. I feel violated, frustrated, and very alone. It has impacted the lifestyle I was accustom to prior to this crime; and trust me being a working parent, part time student, and mother of three children there are many times in which I am at the mercy of credit. As for the actual credit, it has been a long process to correct and I am not sure it will ever return to its original state. This has not only ruined future credit opportunities for me, but I have had to fight against interest rate increases on credit cards that I have had for 15 years or more. For me it is...Past, Present, & Future.

This is important if you have or have had PacifiCare coverage because the same offender, or others like her, might have access to your personal information. We need to be vigilant in our efforts to stop identity theft and Corporate America needs to hear our plea. I, for one, am tired of living in fear. Companies need to stop sending credit card offers in the mail, stop handing out credit cards at the cashier's desk, and more importantly they need to implement procedures that protect our personal information. It just so happens that this particular PacifiCare employee had a criminal record in the State of California for similar criminal activity. A simple criminal background check could have prevented this life altering moment for me, but apparently both companies failed to check her criminal history.



Story submitted on: 2005-02-15 00:00:00.0.

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