Personal finance columnist has her identity stolen

Nancy Trejos, a personal finance columnist for the Washington Post had her identity stolen and her debit card and bank account compromised. She was lucky. Her bank called her while someone was trying to buy over $800 of merchandise with her debit card number.

The writer found herself in an unusual position. She had given up her credit card in favor of a debit card, hoping to become debt-free by avoiding credit cards. Trejos used her debit card a lot, and each time she used it, she was putting her bank account at risk. Each time we use our credit card, we're putting our accounts at risk as well. It's just the nature of the beast. Use a card, and the number is exposed to someone.

Trejos quickly found out that the thief had more than just her debit card number. She also had lots of personal information and the security code from the back of the debit card. How did that happen?

While she pondered her situation, she set herself up with a "fraud alert" at one of the credit bureaus, filed a complaint with the FTC, and reported the situation to the police. It would now be harder for Trejos to get credit, as each credit issuer would have to verify her identity before approving a new account, but it's a hassle worth dealing with if your identity has been compromised.