A nightmare story of identity theft


7/15/20232 min read

Avery Hartmans has years of experience as a journalist covering business and consumer technology. She knows about computer crime. Her knowledge did not keep her safe from an identify thief who charged $9,778.24 on her Chase credit card.

You would think it would be a simply\e matter for Chase to acknowledge that Hartmans was a victim of credit card theft. That is far from true. The thief's plan was sophisticated. She had stolen Hartmans' updated credit card from the US Mail with the help of a crime ring of postal workers, then created a fake ID used to trick Verizon Mobile into a SIM swap, a method for taking over a mobile phone.

The thief used Hartmans' mobile phone account to approve the Chase requests for confirmation of the thief's extravagant purchases.

Long story short, Chase initially removed the charges, but later reinstated them, believing that Hartmans was lying about the incident. Chase was unswayed even after Hartmans tracked down a store that had a surveillance photo of the thief who clearly was not Hartmans.

Three weeks before her wedding, Hartmans finally had the charges removed when a Verizon manager took a second look at her case and found a voice recording of the thief approving the Chase purchase confirmation requests. That was the evidence needed for Chase to believe Hartmans' story. For the full story, see: My phone, my credit card, my hacker, and me

What are the lessons from this true story?

Be careful with your credit cards and your phone. Be alert to notifications from your credit card company that a new card is being sent to you. Call your card company after seven days to check on its status. Then make sure you receive the card within the time period given by your credit card company.

Pay attention to any messages sent to you via text or email from your mobile carrier and your card companies. Call them if anything seems odd.

Hartmans drew on her experience as a journalist to investigate what happened to her. It took untolled hours of her life. Identity theft is a nightmare.