Savvy Financial Advisor Falls Victim to Identity Theft
Having worked in the financial industry for 31 years, Jay Smith* thought he knew how to protect himself against identity theft. But when identity thieves began rapidly opening new accounts the day after Christmas in 2014 he soon realized he was going to need help.
“It started with an email from one of my credit card companies advising me that several attempts were made for a $3,000 charge,” explains Smith. “That same morning, my bank sent an email informing me of a new account. And while I was in the car on the way to the bank, a department store representative called to ask if I had recently made a purchase on my previously inactive card.”
That was only the beginning. As Smith sat with his bank’s branch manager he saw that the hackers had transferred over $80,000 from his valid accounts to five newly established fraudulent checking accounts. Smith also discovered that the hackers had changed his account contact information, and even set up a Western Union account on his bank's bill pay system as a means of attempting to syphon funds from his bank account. Moreover, a multitude of other credit cards, credit unions, pre-pay cards and discount brokerage firms were pinging the new accounts.
Smith quickly sprung into action. He had his bank transfer his money back to his accounts. He also contacted the three major credit agencies and froze his credit. But the thieves did not give up, so Smith finally decided to move all of his funds to his own brokerage firm for safekeeping. But the problems didn’t stop. “I was learning about more and more fraudulent accounts,” Smith explains. “Every time I knocked one down another would pop up—and each issue required hours on the telephone. It was incredibly frustrating.”
That’s when Smith remembered his homeowner policy included an identity theft rider. Smith called his agent, who put him in contact with a fraud investigator at CyberScout.
Smith quickly recognized the value of his CyberScout advisor. “I knew I needed to make sure all of the fraudulent accounts were identified, closed and removed from my credit files,” he explains. “She got to work immediately and explained the key steps in the resolution process.” Given the scope of the fraud against Smith there was a lot to do, including:
• Completing identity theft affidavits
• Notifying the Federal Trade Commission and IRS of the theft
• Reviewing current credit reports from the credit monitoring agencies and ChexSystems to identify every piece of fraud for dispute
Smith also enrolled in the CyberScout credit monitoring service for an extra layer of protection. With the help of his CyberScout fraud investigator, Smith now how has the fraud under control, and he couldn’t be more relieved. “Each time a new problem was discovered she was ready on her direct line to help me,” Smith explains. “I have a lot more peace of mind knowing that I have a fraud expert on my side to help me every step of the way.”
* Identifying details have been changed to protect the victim’s privacy.