Terry Galpin knows far too well the dangers of having your information in the wrong hands.
She was the victim of identity theft more than a decade ago.
Her story left us wanting to know more about what it takes to reclaim your identity.
Galpin applied for a home loan 11 years ago. What she discovered turned her life upside down, and she is still dealing with the fallout.
“Credit cards that I never had,” Galpin said. “Somebody had actually tried to get a home loan that lived in North Carolina.”
Galpin said the Social Security Administration sent her a letter stating the government overpaid her for disability, but she’s never claimed disability.
There were even alias names on her credit report.
“What happens is that you tell them, this is on my credit. This is not me, and they say okay, well you have to provide us with A, B, C, and D,” Galpin said.
But when your identity is stolen, everything is compromised.
“I went to get my driver’s license renewed and was told my name didn’t match my social security number,” Galpin said. “You file your police reports. You do everything you’re told to do, but because that social security number is attached to your name, it will forever be an issue.”
KHON2 reached out to Chris Duque, a cyber-investigator who often gives us tips on how people can protect themselves.
What should you do when it’s too late and someone has stolen your identity?
“Calm down and what you need to do first is start to access all your financial assets,” he said.
Duque explained that the first thing you need to do is to make a list and contact your banks and credit card companies to tell them you’ve been compromised.
“Second thing to do is to contact the three credit bureaus,” Duque said. “Put a credit freeze and make sure they notify you when anybody, anyone queries your financial history.”
Then, Duqye advises, “Make a police report even though you haven’t actually lost any money. Make a report. Have it documented.”
KHON2 asked Duque how long it takes to resolve the issue once your information has been compromised.
“Never. Once your identity is stolen, it’s gone,” Duque said.
Related Link: IdentityTheft.gov