POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) – A Poway mother has been living in financial fear ever since thieves stole her identity in late May.
Alexis Peck says she left her purse inside her unlocked SUV in her driveway. Someone took it.
She immediately canceled her credit cards, but it wasn’t enough, as her ID and social security card were also in her purse.
She started receiving letters from banks about withdrawals she didn’t make it. She also received letters from credit companies about store credit accounts she didn’t start.
“I started to get really angry. It went from 'we can do this' to 'are you kidding me?'" Peck said.
She put a freeze on her credit score, which she says was helpful in blocking the crooks from opening up credit lines.
Deputies recently recovered security video of a woman at a store; it shows a woman who they believe is pretending to be Peck. Deputies say the woman is “extremely smooth.” She uses a puppy when signing forms to explain her sloppy signature. They also got pictures of two men they believe are involved.
Peck blasted their photos on social media, hoping someone would recognize them.
“When I saw her and I’m able to put a face to the criminal that’s doing this to my family and me,” she said, “I got angry.”
We all know about the paid services that will notify you of suspicious activity with your credit. But did you know about the free ways to protect yourself?
It's called a "Fraud alert," and all three credit bureaus will activate it on your credit report for free for 90 days, after which time you renew it again, for free.
If you're active duty military, they will do it for a year, and if you've been the victim of identity theft, they'll do it for seven years.
That alert forces companies to contact you directly when a line of credit is applied for in your name. So while it will hold up instant credit card approvals, it offers an added layer of protection and peace of mind.