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Identity Theft: Protecting & Restoring Your Good Name

Identity Theft: Protecting & Restoring Your Good Name



Learn to protect yourself from this growing problem, and find out what to do if you are a victim.

Learn to protect yourself from this growing problem, and find out what to do if you are a victim.



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  • All incorrect, incomplete, or outdated information can be disputed Be succinct in stating what your desired result is and provide documentation. If the information is outdated, it should be promptly removed. For information that the consumer believes is inaccurate or incomplete, the credit bureau has 30 days to verify the information with the creditor to ensure that it is correct. If the creditor cannot document the truthfulness of the disputed information, it must be deleted from the credit report. It is often necessary to dispute the same item with all credit reporting agencies that have recorded the negative notation. Credit bureaus do not communicate or share information and making a correction on one report does not mean the correction will appear on the report of a different bureau. Mail everything certified mail, return receipt requested. Disputes can be filed easily over the Internet; however, the conventional wisdom is that mailed disputes are the most effective and that certified mail should be used. You may use the sample dispute letters found at the back of the Consumer Guide to Good Credit.

Identity Theft: Protecting & Restoring Your Good Name Identity Theft: Protecting & Restoring Your Good Name Presentation Transcript

  • Identity Theft PROTECTING and RESTORING YOUR GOOD NAME www.credit.org Promoting Financial Literacy
  • About Springboard
    • Springboard is a non-profit organization founded in 1974.
    • We offer personal financial education and assistance with money management, credit, and debt management through educational programs and confidential counseling.
  • About Springboard
    • Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA)
    • Member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
    • Certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    • Member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Our Services Include
      • Credit and Debt Counseling
      • Financial Education Programs – Seminars and Materials
      • Debt Management Plans
      • Homeowner Assistance (Foreclosure Prevention)
      • First Time Home Buyer Education Seminars
      • Reverse Mortgage Counseling
      • Pre-Bankruptcy Budget and Credit Counseling
      • Pre-Discharge Financial Management Instructional Course
    • Identity Theft has been the number one complaint filed with the
    • Federal Trade Commission for the past five years.
    • In 2007 8.1 million Americans became victims.
    • In 2008 9.9 million Americans became victims – an increase of 22%.
    • In 2009 more than 11 million Americans became victims.
    • Out of pocket costs – consumers avg. cost victims $373 .
    • Victims are unjustly harassed by debt collectors, denied credit or employment opportunities etc…
    • Young adults (18-24) and suffer higher account misuse or information exposure through social networking sites than any other age group.
      • Younger victims are almost twice as likely as other age groups to be victimized by people they know – such as friends, roommates and neighbors. This means that you must be extra vigilant about protecting your private financial data inside your homes!
    • Javelin 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report: Consumer Version
    • When your personal information is stolen, such as:
      • Your Name
      • Address
      • Social Security number
      • Date of Birth
      • PIN/Password
    • Are then used by the thief to access your accounts or open new accounts to obtain goods and services.
    What is Identity Theft?
    • Stealing wallets and purses containing your identification, credit cards, checkbooks. (two times as many instances as online theft methods combined)
    • Stealing your mail including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved offers.
    • Completing a change of address form to divert your mail.
    • Rummaging through your trash at home or work (known as “dumpster diving”).
    • Getting your business or personal records at work.
    Top 10 Ways Thieves Steal
    • Information stolen in your home – housekeeping, construction/home repair, carpet cleaning, baby-sitting, in-home nurses, friends, and relatives. (Known as “friendly frauds”)
    • Using personal information you share on the internet (Emails, calls, or text messages from someone pretending to be a bank or trusted source (known as Phishing scams).
    • Shoulder surfing while you conduct business transactions on your laptop or looking over your shoulder during a public transaction at an ATM machine.
    • Opening a new credit card account in store - using your stolen social security number. or online and making purchases using a stolen credit card.
    • Establishing phone or wireless service in your name.
    Top 10 Ways Thieves Steal
  • Example of Phishing Email
    • You have 1 new ALERT message Please login to your Wachovia Bank Online Login and visit the Message Center section in order to read the message. To Login, please click the link below: Wachovia Bank Online Banking
    • ©2008 Wachovia Bank. All rights reserved
    • Someone calls pretending to work for the local
    • court and claims you’ve failed to report for jury duty.
    • You are told that a warrant has been issued
    • for your arrest.
    • The scammer then asks the victim for confidential
    • information for “verification” purposes.
    Jury Duty Scam
    • Keep personal information in a safe place, such as a lock box or safe - avoid storing in glove boxes or day planners
    • Photo copy the entire contents of your wallet – both sides. This way you will know what you had in your wallet and who to report the theft to!
    • Do not give your social security number out to anyone who calls you.
    • Shred your personal documents in a cross-cut shredder.
    • Cancel you paper statements – go electronic.
    • Do not place outgoing mail in your mail box. Deposit in a U.S. mailbox during pick-up hours or at the post office.
    • Monitor your bank and credit card statements and dispute unauthorized charges immediately.
    • Do not carry PINs, passwords, or social security cards with you.
    • Lock up your sensitive information at home.
    • Put strong PINs and passwords on all your accounts.
    ID Theft Prevention Tips
    • When you order your checks have only your initials of your first and middle name with last name.
    • Store new and cancelled checks safely – only carry a check or two when you go shopping. Have new checks mailed to a P.O. Box or your bank for pick-up.
    • When writing out checks do not put the full account number in the memo section – only put last 4 numbers.
    • Use a secure locking mail box for incoming and outgoing mail
    • Find out who has access to your personal information at work and verify that it is securely controlled.
    • Use and update your firewall, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software.
    • Order your free credit reports.
    • Don’t register while visiting websites or participate in phone surveys, marketing surveys, or contests (e.g. the car drawing in the mall). Once a company buys a list with your information you will become a target of their marketing campaign, and this creates one more source for identity thieves to find and appropriate your personal information.
    ID Theft Prevention Tips
  • Opting Out
    • You can remove your name from any list compiled by a credit reporting agency,
    • whether the list is for pre-approved credit offers or direct marketing. To "opt-
    • out," that is, to remove your name from mailing lists compiled by credit
    • bureaus. All credit reporting agencies are required by law to maintain for this
    • purpose:
    • Opt-Out of pre-screened or pre-approved credit offers
    • @ 1-888-5OPT-OUT or 1-888-567-8688
    • Through their website www.optoutprescreen.com , you may request to:
    • Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers for Five Years - (electronically through this website).
    • Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers permanently - (mail Permanent Opt-Out Election form available through this website).
    • Opt-In and be eligible to receive Firm Offers. This option is for consumers who have previously completed an Opt-Out request - (electronically through this website).
  • Opting Out
    • Remove your name from marketing lists. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is responsible for notifying its members that they must remove your name from lists they sell.
    • Your name and address remain in the DMA’s consumer exclusion files for three years at:
      • www.dmachoice.org
  • Your Free Credit Report?
    • Congress adopted the Fair and Accurate Credit
    • Transactions Act FACTA 2003 that allows you a free
    • copy of your credit report every 12 months from:
    • www.annualcreditreport.com
    • 877-322-8228
    • Annual Credit Report Request Service
    • P.O. Box 105281
    • Atlanta, GA. 30348-5281
    • The Initial Fraud Alert (90 days)
      • Call one of the 3 credit reporting agencies and follow the automated service for placing a fraud alert – all 3 credit reports will be mailed to you!
    • The Extended Fraud Alert (7 Years)
      • If you are a victim, you must provide an “identity theft report” (IDT Affidavit, police report & proof of identity) – entitled to 2 free credit reports within 12 months and removed from pre-approved credit offers or 5 years.
    • The Active Duty Alert (1 Year)
      • The law allows you or a personal representative to place or remove the alert
      • Opted Out automatically from Prescreened Offers for Two Years
    Your Rights FACTA - Fraud Alerts
    • Under the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, creditors and lenders must implement programs designed to prevent identity theft by identifying suspicious behavior in borrowing.
    • When applying for credit, you may face a stricter verification process to ensure your identity, and your accounts will be monitored for suspicious activity.
    Red Flags Rule
    • Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows military
    • personnel to place an “active duty alert”. If you are a member of the
    • military and are/will be away from your usual duty station.
    • To place or remove an alert – call the toll-free number for one of the three
    • credit reporting agencies.
      • You will be required to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your social security number, name, address, and other personal information.
      • The law allows you to use a personal representative to place or remove the alert.
      • The credit reporting agency you call is required to notify the other two.
      • The alert will remain effective for 1 year unless you request removal sooner.
      • You will automatically be removed from the marketing lists for pre-approved for two years.
    Active Duty Alerts for Military Personnel
  • Disputing Inaccurate Information FACTA Provisions
    • Previously disputes about inaccurate information in a consumer report had to be made directly to the credit reporting agency - A consumer may dispute directly with the “furnisher” of the information
      • Upon notice the furnisher must investigate and cannot report negative information while the investigation is pending (30 days)
    • Notice of Negative Information – requires creditors to give you an “early warning” notice – that something may be amiss with an account of yours.
      • This is not a substitute for your own close monitoring of credit reports, bank and credit card statements!
  • Nationwide Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies
    • FACTA defines companies that issue non-credit reports as Nationwide Specialty
    • Consumer Reporting Agencies – if you are a victim of identity theft you may also
    • request a copy of these reports from the agencies below:
    • Medical records or payments - Medical Insurance Bureau www.mib.com/html/request_your_record.html
    • Residential or tenant history - First Advantage SafeRent (Formerly known as Unlawful Detainer Registry UDR) • www.fadvsaferent.com
    • ChexSystems : To order your report, visit https://www.consumerdebit.com/consumerinfo/us/en/freereport.htm or
    • call (800) 428-9623
    • Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN) : (800) 262-7771 www.consumerdebit.com/consumerinfo/us/en/consumerreports/index.htm#TopOfPage
    • TeleCheck www.telecheck.com , (800) 835-3243.
    • Employment history - background checks provided by Choicepoint www.choicepoint.com/
    • Insurance claims - CLUE www.choicetrust.com/
    • As of December 2004 consumers may request a free report annually for any of the specialty agencies.
    • Gives victims and other consumers the ability to freeze their credit files
    • A security freeze is free to identity theft victims who have a police report of identity theft.
    • A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.
    • When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file.
    • When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN or password depending on the agency, so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.
    • For non victims fees vary by State Laws
      • For fees in your state visit www.financialprivacynow.org and www.idtheftcenter.org
      • Starting November 1, 2007, the security freeze has been be offered voluntarily by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to consumers living in the states that have not yet adopted security freeze laws.
    Credit Security Freeze Law
  • California Identity Theft Registry
    • Database established to help victims who have been wrongly accused or associated with crimes.
    • Victims can register to enter their name into the identity theft database Once confirmed their information would be entered into the new statewide database.
    • Request a registration application packet from the Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General:
    • ACCESS
    • FORMS
        • 1-888-880-0240 or www.ag.ca.gov/idtheft/
    • Keep accurate records:
    • Follow up in writing (certified mail, return receipt)
    • Keep all copies of correspondence
    • Keep a log of who you spoke to: date, time, name, phone, fax, what they said etc…
    • Keep originals, like police reports, letters from creditors etc…
    • Set up a filing system
    • Keep everything indefinitely!
    What to do if you are a victim REPORT YOUR IDENTITY THEFT
    • Place a 90 day initial fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies. (Freeze your file once you obtain your police report and use FTC’s ID Affidavit).
    • File a police report (In 2001 a CA law was passed that gave id theft victims with a police report access to applications and other records on fraud accounts).
    • Call your creditors and banks immediately; close any of your open accounts and obtain new account numbers with strong PIN’s & passwords.
    Top Five Steps To Take:
    • Send an ID Theft Affidavit (certified mail) to creditors, banks, collection agencies and credit bureaus to notify them of the theft, and request the 7 year extended fraud alert.
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
      • Consumer Sentinel now contains over 4.3 million fraud and identity theft complaints and is accessible to over 1,700 law enforcement agencies – including every state attorney general in the U.S. and consumer protection agencies in 23 nations.
    Top Five Steps to Take:
    • Use the Identity Theft Checklist provided in the booklet pages 16-19.
    • Use the Resource section to learn more.
    • Notify the different agencies applicable to your case.
    • Use the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov
    Identity Theft Checklist and Resources
  • What Questions Do You Have?
    • Springboard Nonprofit Consumer
    • Credit Management
    • 800-WISE-PLAN
    • www.credit.org
    4351 Latham St. Riverside CA. 92501 www.credit.org