I can’t stand a thief. Call me crazy, but I’ve always felt it’s more natural to go to work than to try to take something that’s not yours.
In this day and age, thieves are getting smarter and working harder to take what belongs to you. This past month, I received a strange letter in the mail. It was from the IRS. Any time I get an IRS letter I ask my CPA about it. He told me the letter meant someone had used my social security number to try to get my tax information.
That got my attention.
This letter gave directions on what to do. It said to contact the credit-reporting agencies and notify them of the situation. I called Experian and they placed a fraud alert on my account and notified the other two agencies to do the same. During the call, the friendly operator tried to upsell me on their credit motoring services. I declined; time will tell if that was a prudent choice.
This week, our credit card company sent me a text asking me if I’d recently used my card for at an escort service for $31.99. My first response, out loud, was emphatically, “Well, no!”
The second thing that went through my head was, “Why would someone spend only $31.99 at an escort service?”
Mind you, I have zero experiences with that sort of business, but from what I can tell on TV, one seeking that sort of service should spend a lot more.
The whole thing seemed fishy, so I called the number on the back of my card. As it turns out, someone did try to use our card for some sort of online dating service. The card company’s fraud department took care of it.
The same day, I got a call from someone who had applied to a property we just rented out. The caller explained they saw the property was back on market, that they had the money and were ready to move in.
This was news to me, especially since we’d finished the move-in inspection repairs two days before with the folks who’d rented the place. I asked the caller what gave them the idea it was back on market, and they informed me it was on Craigslist and were even kind enough to send me the link.
Someone had stolen our ad. They had stolen our pictures and most of our wording. In effect, they had stolen our house.
They were offering it for rent $300 cheaper than we had listed. This let me know it was not the new tenants trying to sublease the property but rather someone trying to get a lot of traffic.
I got curious and started trying to find the thief’s contact info in the ad. There was no phone number, even though our stolen ad said “call the number listed.” I did find a Google email address. I emailed them and asked for contact info. I told them I was super interested with cash in hand. I was hoping that would bait the hook.
I got a response email with poor grammar and punctuation. Basically, they were sending me to a site were I could get a credit report. This was to be brought with me when I viewed the home.
This is some sort of identity theft scam. They were using our hard work and trying to use our assets to prey on people. It just makes me sick.
With things like this going on, it becomes ever more important to have a good asset protection plan in place. Remember, “Own nothing but control everything.”
Are your properties in your personal name? What could that mean if someone steals you identity?
We learned how to protect ourselves and our assets from Dyches Boddiford. He is phenomenal. Go check out his website at assets101.com.
Joe and Ashley English invest in real estate in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com