For Martha, a letter from the ExxonMobile Credit Center in June 2003 marked the beginning of three troublesome years dealing with the damage caused by identity theft. The ExxonMobile letter regarding her new card surprised Martha – she had never applied for one.

Martha immediately took action: canceling the fake account, alerting the authorities about the apparent identity theft and placing a 90-day fraud alert on her credit files. She believed that her trouble was over. But almost a year later, Martha discovered that she had a large overdue credit balance on a Fleet CC account which had been open for nearly a year.

“My nightmare started all over, once more having to contact all the credit bureaus, my financial institutions, filing amended police reports, contesting the charges with Fleet CC,” writes Martha, who adds that her credit history was damaged as a result of the fraudulent account.

As for how the identity theft occurred, Martha discovered that fellow employees at her workplace had also become victims. Her former employer believes that a former employee in the payroll department stole sensitive information from company files that was used to commit fraud. To date, the thief has not yet been caught. Martha hopes that all the trouble is now behind her, yet wonders, “Is the matter now settled? I surely hope so, but I still lie awake at night waiting for the next shoe to drop.”