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Someone used my name, SSN, DOB, and current address to apply for a Walmart credit card. I have confirmed that no one has attempted to forward my mail (yet). I terminated the application within a day of it happening so they won't be getting anything.

Am I safe to assume that whoever applied for this will be checking my mailbox? Or is there some other way they can get the credit card info?

The CC company said all the info on the application matched mine except the phone number, which they would not give me. My house is about 500 ft from the road, I could setup a camera and a long extension cord. I can't think of any other ideas for catching them.

  • A battery powered wireless camera may be easier than an extension cord... – TTT Jan 19 '18 at 15:40
  • You might not catch them, have you put a credit freeze in place, to protect you in the future? – Tim Jan 19 '18 at 15:45
  • My pessimistic side says: Walmart may be willing to disclose the phone number to the police, and then the police may be able to track down the location of the burner phone attached to that number. But this might require an extremely large donation to your local police department to get them to lift a finger as this would be a very low priority. – TTT Jan 19 '18 at 15:52
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    If it's someone I know personally, I want to know who it is, and I would find that out at the mailbox. If its someone local hitting multiple people, I'll let the police handle that. If they aren't local and forward my mail, I'll send myself a nice stinky package. How else can they do it, does that cover all scenarios? I have not put a fraud alert on my credit yet, Experians alert time for a hard credit request is a few minutes so I had plenty of lead time to respond, but if it keeps happening I will definitely lock it. – rtaft Jan 19 '18 at 16:12
  • With enough personal information they might be able to figure out the card number and details without ever physically obtaining it. But that is a strange plan because they would have a relatively short time window to use it before you receive it in the mail and start investigating. The long game would be to intercept the card, then change the address for only that card and hope you never find out until the collection agency calls you. – TTT Jan 19 '18 at 16:27
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Walmart's line of credit is not your money, nor your problem to investigate.

File a police report for documentation's sake, dispute the relevant lines in your credit report, place a credit freeze on your accounts and get over it.

Going all Don Quixote about it is a waste of time, especially when it will be up to Walmart's financial services subsidiary to press charges-- and they may very well decline to do so.

As for the card, unless it is a family member, nobody is coming to get it.

Walmart and Target let you open lines of credit in-store (or online) and they let you charge to it on the spot, no card required. The fraudster buys some big-ticket items and has them shipped to a dead drop on the other side of the country.

By the time you receive the card in the mail and catch on, they've already busted out with a sweet new TV, Xbox, a library of games and a full surround sound system that they ordered online using an international proxy.

Welcome to crime in the age of the internet.

Look on the bright side-- even if they had succeeded, you're out nothing.

  • This isn't accurate. According to Walmart, they require an existing bank card with a matching billing address to back up the transaction and to validate the person is who they say they are. Although that could easily be done with someone who has my name or has scammed someone with my name. – rtaft Jan 20 '18 at 17:57
  • @rtaft Are you sure those aren't the criteria for applying for a store account? Usually those require securing by an external account. Credit cards do not. Their website is broken for me right now or I'd verify myself, but I'm going based on experience years ago. – Ivan Jan 22 '18 at 19:50
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    Given that their CC signup has been offline for several days, I'm willing to bet they were hit pretty hard with fraudulent requests and disabled it until they could figure out how to deal with it. – rtaft Jan 23 '18 at 21:46
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Potentially yes. I can see a few plausible scenarios. I am not, however, able to cite proof of this working by either news articles or credit card workflows. Just educated guesses.

Scenario 1: Wait for the card to be sent with enough time to let the recipient activate it. Enough people will just assume its a new card for one they already have and not realize its a new account and activate it. Once that time has elapsed the scammer has enough information and a phone number they control tied to the card. They can call and claim they moved.

Scenario 2: File a false change of address with the post office. The card gets routed to the new address and the scammer has enough to activate it.

Scenario 3: The scammer has enough information to pretend to be you and do some social engineering to get the credit card company to send another card or change the address at the credit card company later. Pretending to be a fool or in a bind while travelling can get you a lot of favors from a customer service rep trying to help.

Scenario 4: The scammer doesn't care about this card. They have however just validated that they have all of your information and it is accurate enough to open lines of credit.

These scenarios are educated guesses. The reality is that if the scammer went to this effort then they have some way to monetize that work.

In any case, the bigger worry here is not the scammer getting one false card. The worry is that the scammer, any anyone else who bought the same dump of stolen data, has YOUR personal information and enough of it to apply for credit. You need to take action.

  1. You need to file a police report, this one case will not lead to an arrest but it will help show a pattern of crimes for a person, a scam ring, or the overall criminal exploitation of a credit system based on a nine-digit SSN.
  2. The police report will then make it easier to file for a credit freeze and credit monitoring. Some states allow the bureaus to charge a fee, if the police report is filed the fee is waived. File for such freezes and protection.
  3. You need to get a new SSN.
  4. Anyone else in your household needs to review their credit as well. Depending on how the data was stolen your entire household may be at risk
  5. Watch any other financial statements closely, especially large bank accounts or retirement accounts or investment accounts.
  • I expect I will have overlooked or made a mistake in the action list. If I have please do make edits or add links to help OP and others deal with stolen identities. – Freiheit Jan 19 '18 at 17:58
  • None of my scenarios account for this being a store credit card. As Ivan points out the card may have charges on it when its approved rather than when the physical card shows up. – Freiheit Jan 22 '18 at 14:47

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