Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

My identity was stolen out of my recycling bin

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Jdub22, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Jdub22

    Jdub22 Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dear NW Firearms,

    About 3 weeks ago I spotted 2 men rummaging through my recycling bin at night. At first I thought "some poor bums just want the cans to get some chump change" but after they left, I thought about it for a few minutes and realized I think I had thrown some billing papers in there... and they didn't take any of the cans or glass bottles in the small bin next to it. I then got a bit worried and got in my car to try to find them - I figured they'd probably be going through other peoples' bins too. I drove around a bit and didn't find them though. I was going to call the police. I wasn't going to confront them or anything, though I was carrying just for my own protection.

    So they got away. Then last weekend my credit card was compromised and some unauthorized charges were made on my account. My identity had been stolen. I froze my bank account and went down to the bank yesterday and cleared it all up. I've got a new account number and getting a new debit card. It's all fine now. I'm getting a paper shredder so there won't be anything for a criminal to take in the future.

    I feel very violated and it's really disheartening to think that a stranger can just come up and take from your garbage/recycling that you put in the street. Common sense would tell me that garbage is legally my property until the garbage truck comes and picks it up, but laws don't always fall in line with common sense. The worst part is that I will never know the location from which the charges on my account were made.

    Does anyone know what rights I have to confront someone who I catch doing this in the future? Now that I've had my identity stolen, my first thought is to get mad because someone is likely out to steal my identity again. My fear is that someone with a criminal mind is assumed to be armed with a knife at the least, and at worst a gun. I want to know what I am within my right to do when confronting someone who I catch going through my recycling or garbage can.

    Any advice is much appreciated.
     
  2. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,792
    Likes Received:
    597
    A similar thing happened to my wife. She went to use her debit card at the grocery store one day and was told the bank had placed a hold on the card. Got to hand it to Bank of America. They saw an attempted small purchase from a pet store in CA that looked suspicious and they froze her debit card. The bank told us that many times people that steal credit/debit card info will make a small purchase as a test to see if the purchase goes thru. If it does, they then max out your credit card or empty your account with your debit card. We are very careful about not throwing billing info away, but we assume someone hacked our card from one of the internet sites that my wife purchased some stuff from.

    Found out B of A has a neat program where if you are making an on-line purchase you can get a special one time debit card number and PIN to use just for that purchase. You use it and then they deactivate it. That way even if someone manages to steal that number and PIN it does them no good.
     
  3. Jdub22

    Jdub22 Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for sharing, Cougfan. That's cool that B of A has a good anti-fraud system in place. My credit union also has a fraud prevention system and they called me on the weekend to let me know of multiple declined charges for $96 each. This was when I told them to freeze my account immediately.

    I'm more interested to know what rights I have to confront someone who I catch doing this in the future. Am I only allowed to say "Excuse me, please leave my garbage in the can and leave now or I will call the police"? because I really wanna beat the sh*t out of them. If anyone can chime in on this, I'd be very grateful.
     
  4. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes Received:
    1,734
    On your property stealing from you? Same rights you would have if they were stealing anything else. Garbage / recycling is your property until it's in the truck so even if they were digging through it while on the street waiting to get picked up its stealing.
     
  5. MarkSBG

    MarkSBG Beaverton Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Likes Received:
    31
    If the garbage is on your property, it is part of your property. Once you put it on the street, it is public domain.

    Is it legal for someone to go through your trash?
    (yeah, this is an internet answer, but better than nothin'.)


    I use Bank of America and whenever I charge on my card, I use the "Safe" shop option. They give me a separate card number for each purchase I make. I get to specify the limit (usually a couple bucks over the cost of the item and shipping) and the expiration date (usually a 2 months or so). It's a great system.
     
  6. VW_Factor

    VW_Factor Woodburn Oregon Active Member

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    101
    Paperless billing = epic win.
     
  7. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    155

    Just so you know, as stated above; Once you put the garbage out in the street, or in a dumpster, it is available to the public.
     
  8. dmancornell

    dmancornell Portland, OR New Member

    Messages:
    2,225
    Likes Received:
    1,589
    Use a shredder.

    TMNT1987_Shredder.png

    TMNT1987_Shredder.png
     
  9. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,792
    Likes Received:
    597
    Thanks, Mark. That was what I was talking about in my post, but I couldn't remember what they called it. :thumbup:
     
  10. scooby

    scooby Portland New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Going forward, buy a shredder and use it. If it makes your info more difficult to get than the next guy's, it worked.

    You can also opt out of receiving 'pre-screened' credit offers. You may also want to consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service. If you do, realize that opening any new accounts will take longer than they would have previously.
     
  11. centerfire

    centerfire Vancouver Member

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have used a shredder for anything that could be considered useful to an identity thief.
    Including credit card applications, other addresses and the like.
    I let nothing out of our place that has any info on it at all.
    Glad it worked out somewhat okay for you.
    Spend a bit and get a good shredder.
    Cheap ones don't last long.
     
  12. Jdub22

    Jdub22 Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the response everyone. I've got a paper shredder on the way. I guess once any sensitive documents are shredded, I don't really have to worry about someone taking from my bin anyway because the scraps will be useless. I won't go out guns-a-blazin' but I will call that useless emergency line who will sent out a uniformed government worker 20 minutes too late so he can listen to my story of the guy who's about to commit the next fraudulent act against someone else in my neighborhood.. great system.

    If we had common sense, we'd be allowed to shoot the b@stards on sight and nobody would think twice about F'ing with other peoples' property. I despise our government more and more every day.
     
  13. Jdub22

    Jdub22 Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks, I ordered a cross-shredder and it can also handle CDs. It got high reviews from people who have owned theirs for long periods of time. It should hold up :cool:
     
  14. The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man rural Washington County, Oregon Active Member

    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    36
    +1
    Also, do not put anything in your garbage/recycling that has your name and/or address on it. Tear covers from magazines and catalogs if they contain your name and address, including the order page on the inside of the catalogs. All get shredded (burned in our case) along with any paid invoices, bills, bank statements, correspondence, etc we choose to discard. Your garbage should be completely free of anything that could be used to identify you or your address once it's picked up. Consider freezing your credit accounts with the major credit reporting services if it wouldn't unduly impact your life.
    Also, stop providing your Social Security Number to everyone who requests it.
    Your doctors, dentists, stores, insurance company, etc. do not need it... even though they sometimes pitch a fit when you tell them no. Of course, credit applications, stock brokers, and banks require it. I even refuse to let anyone take a copy of my driver's license (doctors, stores, etc). Some medical facilities now want to take your picture to add to their electronic files. I refuse that also.

    My goal is to make my information more difficult to obtain. There is probably no perfect way to do that but my efforts make me feel better anyway :)
    Who has additional and more effective suggestions?
     
  15. ikari2_2000

    ikari2_2000 Seattle, WA Member

    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    16
    Shredding is great, but if you throw it all into 1 location, they can still piece it together. Better yet, I usually cut out my address, shred that, flush it down the toilet, and throw the main parts in the recycle bin. That way, the 2 parts will never be together.
     
  16. C&H

    C&H SW Portland Member

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    3
    I hope you're speaking out of frustration.
    At first, you thought these guys were bums, just out looking for change from bottles and cans we put out. Certainly, there are far more people in this situation than people trying to steal identities out of recycling bins.

    I should hope that you don't attempt to threaten or hurt the next bum looking for your castaway cans on suspicion that he may be stealing your identity.

    Locking mailboxes and paper shredders have been around for a long time, as have the recommendations to use them.
     
  17. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,838
    Likes Received:
    1,186
    +1 use a shreader.

    My home office looks out on my front yard, I catch people walking up the side of my house occasionally, I always come out and confront them armed just so they know I'm not very tolerant of it. There is only one way in and out so I go out and confront them on there way out so they have no choice but to be confronted. Only one guy has gotten mouthy, well at least until he noticed my XD40 in my hand at my side and he changed his tune quickly.

    I usually treat them politely like I'm doing them a favor as a friend, with verbiage such as "you really shouldn't trespass on private property, I could have accidentally thought you were a burglar and shot you"
     
  18. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,792
    Likes Received:
    597
    If you looked like your Avatar you wouldn't even need the gun, they would just run away screaming. :laugh:
     
  19. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,838
    Likes Received:
    1,186
    :bluelaugh::laugh::bluelaugh:

    OH and to add to the topic I do have to pull my garbage down to the street on garbage day at which point I don't really think a guy has any legal protection to confront people. I know that my garbage can will have been searched for bottles and cans at least 20 times from the time I bring it down until the time the garbage man picks it up. I pretty much figure it's fair game and up to me to make sure there is no personal information in the garbage to begin with. I also put all my bottles and cans in one of those yellow buckets separated to make it easier for the people that come by looking for them.
     
  20. C&H

    C&H SW Portland Member

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, that's only a little bit true.
    An old style shredder that only cuts your paper into lines is relatively easy to piece back together into a document - if you shred a single document. I don't empty the shredder until the basket is full, and that's about a month's worth of mail shreddings. Also, like most modern shredders, it's a cross-cut model.

    Only a major law enforcement agency investigating a major crime or a corporate/government espionage effort, would attempt to and have a chance at successfully piecing a document together out of a ful basket of cross-cut shreddings. Your average junkie or ID thief wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in ****. And the sewers are grateful that I don't flush any paper that isn't two-ply :)