you may want to buy a shredder

Related to the opt out for life post, Rob Cockerham’s experiment will make you want to buy a crosscutting shredder on the way back from mailing your opt out request.

He calls the experiment the Torn up Credit Card Application. It’s a pretty good name seeing as he tears up one of the credit card applications he got in the mail, then tapes it back together and sends it in. He also uses his Dad’s mailing address and gives them a cell phone instead of his home phone. As you can probably guess, his new credit card shows up at his Dad’s house and he activates it from his cell phone.

It is not very comforting to know that someone could do this with your credit card application after you rip it up and toss it in the garbage.

I saw an article about How to Foil Identity Thieves on Wired but it looks like there is legislation in the works that may change things there. In that article they mention Truston, a free identity theft service. I wanted to look into that service a little more but it’s currently offline. If anyone knows more about the service, please share what you know.

One thing I found interesting was the claim in the article that “credit freezes are the only sure way to prevent identity theft” when they had just finished explaining that “… in many states the unlocking takes three to five days, Utah and New Jersey have taken steps to require that bureaus unlock reports in 15 minutes once you call in with your Social Security number and a PIN.”

So all the identity thief has to do is get your social security number (a job that is far too easy) and your PIN and they can disable the freeze. How is that a sure way to prevent identity theft?


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  1. just hope the new bill does not pass the house. it would make it all but impossible to freeze your credit unless you were a victim of ID theft. I read an interesting article about it. It would be a definite step backward. If I remember where I will let you know but it was related to the theft of the VA and 26 million names of service members.

    Comment by whaleman on June 20, 2006 @ 2:45 pm
  2. I had heard there would be a fee to freeze your credit if the bill was passed. However, I can see why companies wouldn’t want it to be easy to do.

    Comment by dan on June 21, 2006 @ 9:55 am

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