Wednesday, January 09, 2008

3 1/2 hours of my life I'll never get back

I've finished writing the letters to the three credit bureaus for two of the adults in our home. I've got years of secretarial experience behind me, keep really good records and have office equipment in my home. I can't imagine how frustrating this process is going to be for people who don't have the right documents (utility bills in your name, copies of driver's licenses, the police report), have to hand write or peck around on a typewriter to create the letter requesting the freeze, make a trip to Kinkos (by car, bus, walk before/after work, or picking up the children) to make copies and copies, and still schlep to the post office to mail these certified. I'm sure many of our citizens will be so overwhelmed that they'll avoid the task and hope nothing happens.

While I could create a partial form letter each bureau required somewhat different information that had to be included in the letter. It's a lot of different parts to put together and you want to make sure it's complete before sending it off. AND you have to keep a copy for your own records--just in case. Thank Goodness one of our utility bills is still in my name. Heaven forbid I overlook something or confuse the letters and the bureau writes back and I have to start over. They may exchange info on the phone for a 90 day fraud alert but they don't for credit freezes.

Each letter is $3.23 to send certified (which the credit bureaus require). I also opted for a return receipt after the Inglewood Post Office folks, who provide stellar service, suggested the electronic version which is .85 cents vs. $2.15 for the old familiar green post card. That's six letters at $4.08 each for a total of $24.48.

I've had absolutely no sympathy for Wackenhut, Specialized Security Consultants or Metro employees who failed to protect our information. Even more so now that I've spent, so far, a frustrating several hours, lots of printer ink, and the cost of six gallons of milk cleaning up their mess.

I hope that guard enjoyed those Christmas tunes, cause lots of folks are going to be singing the blues.


Buckley said...

Thanks for the info...

So, what I haven't heard is why all this work and expense is ours. It seems if someone other than me borrows money from a creditor with my social security number, it should be the creditor who has the burden of being sure who they are lending to and the cost of fixing it if they are wrong. But it seems that's PLAN B, after suing our government. This kind of thing is going to keep happening; we need a long term solution to protect our credit, not just a freeze due to this one breach.

I was at a neighborhood association meeting earlier this week and a handful of board members said there was already a freeze on their credit, even though they had not requested one. Is anyone else hearing stories like that? Or that creditors are already being more careful because of the Nashvile breach?

Kay Brooks said...

Seems like they misunderstood the letter from the Election Commission which says:

"The following consumer reporting agencies are being notified of this loss by the DCEC---Equifax, Experian, TransUnion..." Notified isn't a freeze. It may initiate a fraud alert but I doubt a freeze. I wouldn't trust the Election Commission to take care of this.

We're just too free and easy with credit now days. The mail is full of applications. At nearly every Christmas purchase I was asked to apply for a store credit account. Everyone wants to know the last four of your SSN. It's getting so that biometric may be the only way to know you're you. {{{shudder}}}