Renee Dees first had her identity stolen eight years ago when she worked for the state of Alabama.
“It was very embarrassing for one,” says Dees.
A year later, it was stolen again.
“Whoever did it had taken out four or five different payday loans. These people calling me, telling me I owed them money, you need to make a payment on this, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Then it was stolen a third time. Just having it stolen once creates all kinds of problems.
“More than likely you won’t be able to get a mortgage; you’re going to have an outrageous interest on credit cards and/or card notes. It makes it very difficult,” says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
Which has put a damper on Dees’ dreams of a larger living space.
“I want to be a first time home buyer, but my credit score is so low because all of this is still building up from that point,” says Dees.
Dees did everything right, she called the Federal Trade Commission to report it, she filed a police report, and now she has a new bank, and just one debit card, and every time she uses that card, the bank will call her to make sure she’s the one who made the purchase.
Dees even got a scam phone call from someone posing as a sheriff’s deputy.
(phone recording): “We have received an arrest warrant that has your name. So before it becomes too late for you, call me back as soon as possible”
Your life immediately gets more difficult when your identity has been stolen.
“I even filed income tax twice for 2012/2013. Internal Revenue said we need to make sure you are in fact who you are,” says Dees.
Which is why you have to be extra cautious all the time.
“Every time I use my card, I’m still thinking, is it going to happen?” says Dees.
Dees also called one of the three credit agencies and put a fraud alert on her credit. It’s also important to note any negative activity on your credit stays there for seven years. Experts say keep an eye on your credit report and check your bank statements often.