in Search

ID theft

All about how it happens and how you can keep it from happening to you.

March 2012 - Posts

  • Survey says people greatly frustrated with credit bureaus during ID theft recovery

    If you have even been the victim of identity theft, you know how frustrating it can be to try to recover from it. You spend hours and hours on the phone, writing letters and in general, just pleading your case. You may even have to hire an attorney to get the job done. It can be incredibly nerve wracking. 


    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report which details the results of a recent survey of identity theft victims, who were asked to talk about their dealings with the three major credit reporting agencies, as well as how they were able to exercise their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 


    According to the survey, most said they were satisfied with their experience. But others noted there is room for improvement.  Here are the problem areas:


    • Many of those surveyed said they had a hard time getting a real person on the phone when they called the credit reporting bureaus – Experian, EquiFax and TransUnion. The bureaus must address this – when you are distraught over something as big as identity theft, talking to a machine just won't cut it. 


    • Less than half of those surveyed even knew they had rights under the FCRA before they contacted the bureaus. This is a general communication issue that should be addressed. Consumers should be made aware of their rights. More must be done to educate the public about the FCRA, and their rights under it. 


    • Some of those surveyed said they were pressured by the bureaus to purchase identity theft monitoring services. 


    Consumer education is an important component for the FTC, which works to provide an extensive educational program to help consumers understand identity theft and to provide them with the tools needed to help them not only to deal with identity theft when it occurs, but also to detect and defend against it beforehand.

    Posted Mar 27 2012, 12:33 PM by IdentityTheft with 1 comment(s)
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Protect yourself from tax fraud -- and identity theft

    What if you do your taxes and file them on time, anticipating a healthy refund, only to receive a notice saying you've already filed -- and you didn't?

    Or picture this: You get a notice from the IRS saying you owe them money or that you received wages from some employer you've never heard of.

    If anything like this happens to you, you are most likely a victim of identity theft. How? Well, chances are the thief got his hands on your Social Security number, and used it to file a fake tax return. Or perhaps an illegal immigrant used your Social Security number to gain employment.

    In recent months, the IRS has announced more vigorous attempts to stop tax identity theft before it starts. While they take action, however, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

    First of all, never carry you Social Security card in your wallet. On the occasion that you need it as an ID, of course carry it and use it. But when you are done, store it under lock and key. You don't want the wrong person getting his hands on it.

    And never give your Social Security number to anyone unless you are sure they really require it. Don't be afraid to ask if an alternative form of identification can be used instead, particularly if you are unsure how your information will be used and stored.

    Make sure your shred any and all documents that contain your personal or financial information before you dispose of them, and be sure that the ones you keep filed are secured.

    You should also make sure to check your credit report each year, being careful to look for fraudulent or questionable information. If you find anything that looks out of place to you, take action immediately with both the creditor and the credit bureau.

    Protect your computer as well, making sure your passwords are tough and updated on a regular basis. You should also install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall.

    When it comes to requests for your personal or financial information, don't respond if you are unsure of the person asking, particularly if the request comes to you unsolicited.

    Taking just these simple steps will go a long way toward protecting you -- and your information.

    Posted Mar 20 2012, 10:18 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • My identity has been stolen! Now what?

    If you have fallen victim to identity theft, you must take action quickly. But often, in the heat of the moment, it's hard to remember what you should do. Here are the steps you should take. Print the list and keep it handy, just in case.


    First of all, contact the police and file a report. Get the police report number, and the name and phone number of the investigating officer. You will want to keep this information handy to provide to any creditors or other people you speak with regarding the theft.


    You may wish to close your checking and/or savings accounts, depending on what was stolen, and stop payment on outstanding checks. You will definitely want to inform your bank or credit union, telling the fraud department what accounts might be breached. Be prepared to provide the representative with account numbers. You will want to obtain a new ATM card, account number and PIN.


    You will also want to contact your credit card issuers and even close the cards you think might be at risk. When you get your statements, go over them carefully, checking for any questionable or fraudulent activity.


    If you spend time and money fixing the damage done by such a theft, make sure you document everything you do, including dates and the names of people you speak with. Jot down the amounts you spend and what the expense was for also, as some states will force the theft to make restitution to the victim. You should also keep copies of all correspondence.


    Call the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. This will require that you be contacted before any new credit is issued in your name.


    Posted Mar 13 2012, 12:38 PM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Do people understand what a credit score is?

    In a recent survey, only 27 percent of consumers really understood that their credit scores are used by lenders to measure risk. Your credit score is, in fact, a snapshot of your financial well-being, and lenders place high value on this three-digit number. Your score tells a lender whether or not he can expect repayment on your loan – if you even get the loan to begin with.


    Generally speaking, the higher your score, the better your credit and the better your chances of getting a loan at a good rate with good terms. If your score is lower, well, you can expect the opposite – not-so-good rates and terms, if you're able to secure a loan at all. 


    Your credit score is basically made up of these factors: payment history, amount of debt you carry, length of credit history, types of credit and new credit. About 60 percent of consumers have a credit score of 700 or higher. A score of 720 is considered good. If your score is below 700, it's a good idea to take action to raise it.


    But how? The first and most important thing you should do is to check your credit report. Find out if the information shown on this all-important document is correct. If it's not, make it so by contacting the corresponding credit bureau or creditor, and ask that the information be fixed. You should do this in writing. 


    Next, reduce your debt. Pay it down, beginning with your high interest items, and work your way down from there. And last of all, make sure you pay your bills on time, every time. 


    Doing these three things will help set your credit back on track and raise your score. But it won't happen overnight. It will take time – but stay on course and soon you'll see a vast improvement.

    Posted Mar 06 2012, 12:33 PM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog

Syndication

Tags