Yesterday, I went to the local Verizon store to upgrade my phone. (Verizon is one of several major cell phone carriers in the United States.)
my phone over 3 years so I should have been eligible for a new phone. But wait, not so fast.
"No", I was told, "someone called on September 11, 2015 using your
account, gave the correct last four of your account owner's (my spouse's) social security number and and upgraded to an iPhone 6S; you
can't upgrade until 2017".
In the United States, we don't have national ID's but our social security numbers, a number given out by the Federal government shortly after a citizen is born (well, not when I was young but that's another story) act almost like a universal ID number. All sorts of companies use them. If your number is stolen, you are in trouble.
I had to call Customer Service, which
contacted Verizon's fraud unit, and it is straightened out now- well, at
least I can upgrade. The fraudulent call came from a neighborhood in
NYC, almost 200 miles from where I live. I knew this when the rep named the neighborhood because I grew up in New York City.
I asked if this means my spouse has had his identity stolen. "Not necessarily" we were told. But this comes on the heels of us receiving a letter from our health insurer telling us they had been hacked. Still, if someone did get my spouse's social security number, how was it associated with his cell phone number? (my spouse only gives that number out to family).
Besides this being past creepy, I'm still trying to figure out what had happened. And, why weren't we notified by email? I was too stunned to think, but the fraudster must have changed my address. But we got a communication in the mail from Verizon about 10 days ago. Something just doesn't make sense.
Has this happened to any of you?