How Identity Thieves Get Your Personal Information:
They may get your credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to them, or by posing at a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.
They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as “skimming”. They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.
One works with the ATM and just scan your number and PIN
The other does not talk to the ATM and will give you: 'Thank you for using Bank of America. There has been a malfunction.'
They may steal your wallet or purse.
They may steal personal information they find in your home .
They may steal personal information from you through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as “phishing” online, or “pretexting” by phone .
How Identity Theft Occurs An untampered-with cash machine. This is what an ATM looks like A fraudster fits the skimming device to the ATM’s card slot. The device will scan the store personal card details. Next, a strip of metal containing a hidden pinhole camera is affixed to the top of the ATM. Authorities admit these miniature cameras are often very well hidden from view. ATM rigged and ready to roll. All that’s needed is an un-suspecting customer. While a customer is keying in their pin number, the fraudster is around the corner waiting for the wireless skimming device to transmit the card data to a laptop. This data is used to create a cloned card which can be used immediately with the filmed/captured pin number.
How Identity Thieves Use Your Personal Information:
They may call your credit card issuer to change the billing address on your credit card account. The imposter then runs up charges on our account. Because your bills are being sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there’s a problem.
They may open new credit card accounts in your name . When they use the credit card(s) and don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account(s) are reported on your credit report.
They may establish phone or wireless service in your name .
They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
They may counterfeit checks or credit or debit cards , on authorize electronic transfers in your name, and drain your bank account.
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department for each account
Follow-up IN WRITING and include copies (NOT Originals) of the supporting documents.
Send your letters certified, return receipt requested
Keep a file of your correspondence & enclosures.
When you open new accounts, use new PINs and passwords. Again, avoid easily available info.
If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or on fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions.
For charges and debits on existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the company’s fraud dispute form. If the company does not have a form use your form (later in presentation) to dispute items.
For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft Affidavit (shown later). If not, ask the representative to send you the company’s fraud dispute form.
If the company already has reported these accounts or debts on your credit report, dispute this fraudulent information (Correcting Credit Reports)
Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed account(s) and has discharged the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account(s) reappear.
3. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Get a copy of the police report or at least the number assigned to the report.
It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.
If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a “ Miscellaneous Incidents ” report or try another jurisdiction, like your state police.
You can also check with your Attorney General’s Office to find out if state law requires the police to take an Identity Theft Report. www.naag.org lists state Attorney Generals. Or http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Law/identitytheft.htm
4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
FTC helps law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them.
FTC can refer complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action as well as investigate companies for violations.
You can file a complaint by:
Online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338)
Write to Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580
Call the Hotline to update your complaint with any additional information.
Depends on the policies of the Consumer Reporting Company (CRC) and the information provider company (the business that sent the information to the consumer reporting company).
Additional information not provided in Part One
CRC MUST make their request within 15 days of receiving your law enforcement report, or, if you already obtained an extended fraud alert on your credit report, the date you submit your request to the credit reporting company for information blocking.
You have 15 days to provide the information or be rejected as incomplete.
CRC has 5 additional days to review the additional information provided.
If the above dates are NOT met, you will have to resubmit your identity theft report with the correct information.
NOTE: Knowingly submitting false information could subject you to criminal prosecution for perjury!!!
Correcting Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports:
Information Provider Obligations:
They will stop reporting fraudulent info to the consumer reporting companies once you send them an identity theft report and letter.
They may not also hire someone to collect the debt that relates to the fraudulent account, or sell that debt to anyone else who would try to collect it.
The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts, including fraudulent charges.
The law limits your liability for unauthorized charges to $50, but you MUST :
Write to the creditor at the address given for “ billing inquiries ”, NOT the address for sending payments. Include name, address, account #, and a description of billing error including amount and date of error. (Sample on next slide)
Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error . If the theft changed your address on the bill, it is up to you to keep track of when you receive the bill and call the creditor and get the letter to them .
Send the letter Certified and request a return receipt.
Include COPIES NOT Originals of the police report or other documents
Keep a copy of the dispute letter
The Creditor MUST acknowledge your complaint in writing within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved .
The Creditor MUST resolve the dispute within 2 billing cycles (but not more than 90 days )
If you think your SSNO is being used by an identity thief to get a driver’s license, contact the DMV. If your state uses SSNO as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute with another number. (CT does not use SSNO)
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – www.sec.gov
Office of Investor Education and Assistance serves for complaints about investment fraud or mishandling of investments by securities professionals
Any identity thief tampering with security investments should be immediately reported to your broker and the SEC
Complaints can be filed at www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml or call 202-551-6551
Enclose as much detail as possible
U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) – www.usps.gov /websites/depart/inspect
Law Enforcement arm of US Postal Service that investigates cases of identity theft.
If an identity thief has stolen your mail to get credit cards, bank/credit card statements or other info or has falsified change-of-address forms to obtain your personal info , report it to your local postal inspector
Call your local post office for the nearest USPIS district office or visit the above website
U.S. Department of State (USDS) – www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
If you’ve lost your passport, or believe it was stolen or being used fraudulently, contact the above office. Local field offices are listed in the phone book.
If an identity thief has established phone service in your name, is making unauthorized calls from your phone or is using your PIN:
Contact your service provider and cancel the account and/or calling card immediately .
Open new accounts with new PINS
If you are having trouble getting fraudulent phone charges removed:
For local service, contact your state Public Utility Commission
For cellular and long distance, contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – www.fcc.gov or call 1-888-CALL-FCC
File a complaint online at www.fcc.gov or email to [email_address]
Social Security Number Misuse:
Social Security Administration (SSA) – www.ssa.gov
If you have specific info of SSNO misuse that involves the buying or selling of SSNO cards, it may be related to terrorist activity, or is designed to obtain Social Security benefits, contact the Office of Inspector General
Complaints can be filed at www.socialsecurity.gov/oig or call 1-800-269-0271
Call 1-800-772-1213 to verity the accuracy of the earnings reported or request a replacement SSNO card if yours is lost/stolen
Contact the school/program that opened the loan and close the loan
Report the fraudulent loan to the U.S. Department of Education – www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html?src = rt
Call the Inspector General’s Hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – www.treas.gov/irs/ci
IRS is responsible for administering and enforcing tax laws .
For tax records, go to www.irs.gov and type in the IRS key word “Identity Theft”
If you have an unresolved issue that is causing a hardship, visit the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service at www.irs.gov/advocate or call 1-877-777-4778
If you suspect or know of an individual/company that is not complying with the tax law report it to the IRS Criminal Investigation Informant Hotline by calling 1-800-8290433 or go to www.irs.gov and type in the IRS key word “Tax Fraud”
Once resolved, most cases of identity theft stay resolved. But occasionally, some victims have recurring problems. To help stay on top of the situation:
Monitor your credit reports
Read your Financial Account Statements promptly and carefully
Look for the following :
Failing to receive bills or other mail
Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms
Receiving Credit Cards you didn’t apply for
Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn’t buy
Getting Your Credit Report:
FREE Annual Credit Reports.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
Or mail the printed form to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You can print this form at www.ftc.gov/credit
DO NOT contact the 3 nationwide companies individually . They ARE NOT free unless you go to the above website, call or mail as instructed above.
MAKE SURE you spell the website correctly to avoid being misdirected to other websites that offer supposedly free reports, but only with the purchase of other products.
You ARE NOT required to purchase additional products/services to receive your free annual credit reports .
Other Consumer Rights to Free Reports:
Under Federal Law, you’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit . You must request your report within 60 days of receiving notice.
You are entitled to 1 free report a year if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job with 60 days , you are on welfare or your report is inaccurate because of fraud . Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of you report within a 12 month period.
Do NOT give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless YOU have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with.
Identity Thefts are clever posing as banks, ISP or even government agencies to get SSNO or other personal information.
Check an organization’s website by TYPING the URL in the address line, rather than cutting and pasting it.
You can call Customer Service, the number is normally on your account statement .
For more info see, “How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Phishing’ Scam” on www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Treat your mail and trash carefully
Deposit OUTGOING mail in post office collection boxes or your local post office
FLAG UP on your mailbox means come steal my identity!!!
Ron says “Flag Shown..Cover Blown”
Remove INCOMING mail from your mail box promptly if possible.
Identity thefts love to open mailboxes and take out bills and/or statements
If you are planning to be away , have the Post Office hold your mail. I believe you need to give the Post Office 3 days notice . Fill out the Yellow Card!!
Before putting your garbage out, shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statement, checks and bank statements . You get it!! Anything that has an account, SSNO or something an Identity Theft. Shredder normally cost $50 or so. Better than having your identity stolen!!
Don’t carry your SSNO card or number with you; leave it in a secure place
Give your SSNO only when absolutely necessary, ask to use other types of identifiers.
If your state uses SSNO as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute it with another number
Same if your health insurance company uses your SSNO as your policy number
Special Word About SSNO
Your employer & financial institution will need the SSNO for wage and tax reporting
Other businesses may ask for your SSNO to do credit checks if you are applying for a loan, renting an apartment, or signing up for utilities.
Sometimes, however they simply want your SSNO for general record keeping . If so ask:
Why do you need my SSNO?
How will my SSNO be used?
How do you protect my SSNO from being stolen?
What will happen if I don’t give you my SSNO?
If you don’t provide your SSNO, some businesses will NOT provide you with the service or benefit you want. Getting satisfactory answers to the above will help you decide to share or not. The decision to share is yours.
Only carry identification information and credit/debit cards that you actually need when you go out. Many people carry multiple credit cards... bad move.
Be cautious when responding to promotions. Identity thefts may create a phony promotional offer to get you to give them your personal information.
Keep you wallet/purse in a safe place at work; do the same with any administrative forms that have sensitive personal information.
When ordering new checks, pick them up at the bank if possible instead of having them mailed to your home mailbox.
Upgrade your virus protection regularly and patches for your operating system and other software programs installed. Set the virus protection to automatically update weekly . Windows XP can be set to automatically check for patches and download them.
Don’t open files from strangers, or click on hyperlinks or download programs from people you don’t know
Opening files could expose your system to a virus or a program known as “spyware” which captures passwords you type.
Use a firewall program , especially if you use a high-speed Internet connection like cable, DSL or T1 that leaves your computer connected 24 hours a day. Also wireless set-ups!!!
Firewall will allow you to stop uninvited access to your computer (like your neighbor)
Without it, hackers can take over your computer, access the personal info stored on it and commit crimes.
Use a SECURE browser
Software that encrypts or scrambles info you send over the Internet – to guard your online transactions
When submitting information, look for the “lock” icon on the status bar .
Try NOT to store financial information on your laptop unless absolutely necessary .
If you do, use a strong password – a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. Or use a phase and take the first letter of each.
Fairfield at 123 Post Rd. Would become: Fa123PR
Don’t use an automatic log-in feature that saves name and password . If the computer is stolen, it is easier for the thief to get the info. Try using SPLASH . It is only $20 and can sync to cell phone.
Before you dispose of the computer, delete all personal information stored .
Reformat the hard drive or use a “wipe” utility to overwrite do not just empty the recycle bin.