How Identity Theft Taught Me To Live Within My Means

Many years ago, some one stole my identity. I really wasn’t doing much with it back then, so it literally took years for me to figure out that this was what had happened. Back then, no one was ever talking about people stealing other people’s social security numbers, driver’s licenses, and the like, and frankly, raising three little kids was enough to keep me just distracted enough that I was a really good mark.

Credit Card
Credit Card (Photo credit: 401K)

Credit, to me, is not a wonderful thing. So, having to learn to live without it was a positive experience for me. If we want something, we save for it, or we don’t get it. Period. My credit card debt? Zero. We never use credit for anything.

One interesting thing I did learn through this whole process, though, was how to deal with bill collectors. In the beginning, when this theft first took place, I was baffled by people insisting I owed them money. One told me I owed a large balance on a Sears credit card. I had never in my life even shopped at Sears, much less have a credit card from there. After weeks of calls, with me explaining the same thing over and over, I just stopped answering their calls. After another week or so, I got a notice telling me that they had reported my failure to pay to the credit bureau. I had no clue what that even meant, so I didn’t care. This happened over and over with several things, until I guess, the thief could no longer use my credit, because they’d destroyed it, and they moved on to the next victim.

For years, collectors would call me, trying to get me to pay for things that I never bought, and not one of these voices on the phone ever believed me when I tried to tell them my suspicions. I gave up the fight, and ignored every last one of them. I lived in Texas, and I had no spare money in any accounts…and there are no garnishments in the Lone Star State for these kinds of collections.

Decades moved by, and eventually, that strange circumstance became a thing of the past.

A few years ago, I went to work for a company that did third-party accounting for different companies, and one of those companies was a collection agency. One day, while being friendly, I was let in on a little secret…These agencies keep records of how we act on the phones when they call us! Yes! In my case, since I was trying to fix this in the beginning, and I was willing to engage in conversations, though fruitless ones, they kept calling, figuring they’d get me to finally send some money their way just to be rid of them. But later, when they could not get me to even answer the phone, they flagged me as a high risk, and went ahead and wrote my debt off knowing that I was not going to be talked…or guilted…into paying them.

I watched a documentary about a woman who was so harassed by these collection agencies that she killed herself. It broke my heart, and I wondered how one could care so much about credit??? I understand my case was a little different because I hadn’t actually bought all this stuff, but still, I guess the law still held me responsible for the purchases…But you can’t get blood out of a rock, and I couldn’t have afforded to pay anything on them if I had wanted to. And I, trust me, I wasn’t about to pay for any of these things…

Credit is not something people need. In fact, you have a much free-er life by not owing anyone anything if at all possible. The Bible tells us that when you are in debt to another person, essentially that other person owns you. So, take a minute and figure out who really owns you right now…and get free of them!!

— Bird


14 responses to “How Identity Theft Taught Me To Live Within My Means”

  1. Very awesome post Bird..
    Not that your identity was stolen..but because what you said is the TRUTH!
    My father..having used to work for a Bank..and my sister currently a Bank manager..warn me all time about the dangers of credit cards and the importance of saving (for more than a rainy day!)..if you want for it!
    Very wise words you once again 🙂


  2. Hi!
    We save for what we want to buy.
    Then if it is a large item, we borrow for it, as if we did not have the money.
    Then we pay it back in three months, or so.
    Makes a really high credit RATING without really being in debt to get it.
    Just sayin’.


    • That sounds like it works well for you guys. However, in my family, things tend to go wrong at the most inconvenient times, and I would hate to be stuck with a payment…Thanks for the comment..It makes sense!


    • Prepaid Debit Cards. — I swear by Netspend. I’ve tried other companies, but I’ve had Netspend for 5 years now, and not one problem…They take $5.00 a month for their fees, and not a penny more. You should check them out!


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