On Monday my mother-in-law came down to spend some time with us before we leave. Who could have guessed that the envelope she brought with her would turn my week upside down!
She had received mail for me at her home, this was odd because I have not lived in Carleton Place since I was 18 years old. When I opened it, it was from a company called Wonga.com. The letter stated that I owed them $651.85. I figured it was a scam to get naïve people to call and then get sucked into giving out personal information. I was ticked so I tore it up and threw it in the recycling.
Luckily Brent wasn't so ticked off and looked the company up. Sure enough Wonga is a real "payday" loans type organization, but with far less controls. I begrudgingly pulled the torn up strips out of the recycling and told Brent I would deal with it Tuesday morning.
My plan was to get them to tell me what they had on "me" and give them nothing. In fact I didn't call the number on the letter in case it was fake and instead called the number on the website. My "I got this" attitude quickly changed when I realized they had my Social Insurance Number and date of birth. It only took a few seconds from my mood to go from confident to panicked.
With less than three weeks before we left, trying to figure out who had stolen my identity and what to do about it seemed like a huge headache threatening to be a migraine. I had to notify my bank, the credit bureau, the police, Fraudbusters, and Service Canada.
Based on the information Equifax and TransUnion had the person had not yet tried to get credit cards or other loans. We had discovered it within 1 month (by the way the $51.85 was the interest on the $600 loan the thief had taken out over the course of one month!!!) and if Linda had not brought that letter down I could have left the country and someone else could have gone on for months ruining my credit.
Am I confident that the matter is solved? Not really. I am now counting on credit bureaus and credit card companies to stop the thief. I actually have the most confidence in Wonga as they are the ones out of pocket. I hate relying on others to keep identity safe, but yet again I must let this go. I can't control anything from Grenada. That isn't to say I won't be checking up on this every month, but my focus has to be on NEWLO and PAM and how I can help them.