Identity Theft How to protect yourself and what to do should it happen to you Kathryn Greiner and Beth Blanco Budget Counselors University of Michigan Credit Union (734) 662-8200 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com What is Identity Theft? Identity Theft occurs when your personal information such as name, social security number, driver’s license number or other personal data is stolen to obtain credit, merchandise or services in your name. Common ways identity theft happens Lost or stolen wallet or purse Stolen mail Internet Dumpster/trash diving Family members, questionable friends, neighbors or coworkers Personal data stolen from business computer records ID Theft Crimes Opening new Setting up a cell bank accounts phone account and writing bad Renting an checks apartment and Obtaining avoiding the rent personal or car payments loans Getting Getting cash employment advances Latest trends in identity theft Person with a camera-equipped cell phone snaps pictures of your critical information. “Phishing” on the internet with a pop-up on a legitimate web site that directs you to a bogus site asking to “verify” or “update” your information. Contact the place of business directly, if this should happen. E-mail spamming, and spy ware Identity thieves using your medical insurance information to obtain services How consumers become aware of identity theft Missing money or discovering an unfamiliar transaction on their statement Credit card issuer calls to question unusual spending activity Banking problems Missing credit cards or checkbook Police Denied utility service Credit Report You are the key to prevention Stay Alert! Pay attention: are there bills or other mail you have not received this month? Follow up if you receive a letter of denial for credit and haven’t applied for anything. Get detailed information on any collection calls about accounts that you did not open or have not been using. Call about any credit cards you receive that you didn’t apply for. Protect personal information Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place. Carry only the credit cards and ID you will need when you go out. Save all purchase receipts and check them against statements each month: credit card debit card ATM transactions Good ideas Shred sensitive documents. Keep information safe at home by investing in a locking file cabinet or safe. If you don’t keep your statements, keep a list of creditors, their telephone numbers and your account numbers in the safe area in case of credit card theft. Good ideas Remove your mail promptly from your mail box. Mail outgoing mail in post office collection boxes instead of from your mail box. Consider renting a Post Office box, especially if traveling frequently. Even better ideas Opt out of offers to reduce mail and solicitation calls Opting out of credit card offers call 1-800-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) Reduce unsolicited mail- http://dmaconsumers.org or write to them at Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 National Do Not Call Registry 888-382-1222, or www.donotcall.gov Computer Security Use an antivirus or firewall software, such as http://lavasoft.com. Ad-aware SE personal is free and can be downloaded from their site Utilize Pop-up blockers, for example http//www.mozilla.com. There is a link to download firefox which is also free Create a password to log into your computer Do not carry your Social Security Card Memorize the number Give out your SSN only when necessary. Your employer and financial institution will need it for tax reporting purposes. You also need it when applying for credit renting an apartment signing up for utilities Questions if someone asks you for your Social Security number Why do you need it? How will my Social Security number be used? How do you protect my SSN from being stolen? What will happen if I don’t give you my Social Security number? (Will I be provided with the service?) Active Military Personnel Place an “active duty” alert on your credit report Safe Credit Card Use Offer no personal information to merchants when using a credit card. If you have “see photo ID” on the back of your card, do not allow information to be written down or photocopied. Do not give out your credit card number over the phone to anyone you don’t know or did not call yourself. Cautions Be cautious about mail or phone promotions: Identity thieves may create something that looks legitimate. Marital Status Immediately change the marital status linked to your credit card should you become: married divorced separated Caution when using checks Don’t put the entire account number on memo line of check Consider using your initials instead of your name on your checks Never put your SSN on your checks Use a P.O. Box or work address and phone number on your checks When ordering checks, pick them up at the financial institution instead of having them mailed Pin Numbers Don’t use your Don’t use your pet’s Mother’s maiden name name Don’t use your Don’t use consecutive children’s or spouse’s letters or numbers name or a nickname (ABCD or 1234) Don’t use your Don’t use your phone wedding anniversary number or SSN DO use letters and Don’t use your or numbers in the same family’s birthdates password, it is harder for computer hackers to decode Look at your credit report every 12 months at no charge www.annualcreditreport.com Call 1-877-322-8228 Write to Annual Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 You may also request one at no charge if you have been denied credit, insurance or employment within the last 60 days More Credit Report Info You may purchase your report if you would like another copy or want your score from TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian Verify all of your information is correct- name(s), addresses, employment, etc. Make corrections where needed with TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian Identity Theft Victims: Immediate Steps Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Call ONE of the three consumer reporting agencies, who will contact the other two. Equifax- 1-800-525-6285 www.equifax.com, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Experian- 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) www.experian.com, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013 TransUnion- 1-800-680-7289, www.transunion.com, Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834- 6790 Close accounts that have been tampered with First call and speak with someone in the fraud or security department. Ask them if they accept the ID Theft Affidavit. If not ask them to send you their form. Follow up with a letter. Send it certified mail with return receipt requested, for proof they received it. Close tampered accounts continued.. To dispute charges on existing accounts, ask the company to send you the company’s fraud dispute form or send them a letter. Close bank accounts that have been tampered with. Request the company send you documentation when the issue has been resolved. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Rights 1. You have the right to ask the nationwide consumer reporting agencies to place “fraud alerts in your file”. 2. You have the right to free copies of the information in your file. 3. You have the right to obtain documents relating to fraudulent transactions made or accounts opened using your information. More FCRA Rights…. 4. You have the right to obtain information from a debt collector. 5. If you believe information in your file results from identity theft, you have a right to ask that a consumer reporting agency block that information from your file. 6. You may also prevent businesses from reporting information about you to consumer reporting agencies if information is a result of identity theft. File a report with your local police Get a copy of the report. If the authorities are unwilling or reluctant to file a police report, then ask to file a “Miscellaneous Incidents” report, or try another jurisdiction, like the county or state police. Michigan law gives you the right to file a police report for identity theft. See if that is also true in your state. Get help from MI Attorney General’s Office In Michigan, the Attorney General’s office will get involved if a company or collection agency insists on pursuing a debt after all of the other steps have been done. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Call them at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) TTY 1-866-653-4261 (for the hearing impaired) Write to them at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington D.C. 20580 If your mail is stolen Contact the Post Office- Postal Inspection Service Office On line at www.usps.com/postlainspectors/mailthft.h tm Fill out PS Form 2016 Mail theft and vandalism complaint If your social security number has been used Online at www.socialsecurity.gov Call them at 1-800-269-0271 TTY 202-326-2502 Write to the Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235 You may be able to get a new social security number (you cannot if you have filed for bankruptcy, are trying to avoid legal responsibility or if there is not adequate evidence of ID theft.) If your checks are lost or stolen Call your financial institution Next call whichever check clearing company used by your financial inst. Chex Systems- 800-428-9623 Certegy Check Systems- 800-437-5120 Telechex- 800-710-9898 Check Center- 800-843-0760 International Check Service- 800-526-5380 Check Fraud Services A company that puts out national alerts to financial institutions, government, and law enforcement agencies for stolen checks and other ID theft issues National Check Fraud Service (843) 571-2143 www.ckfraud.org Internet Fraud Internet Fraud Complaint Center- http://www.ifccfbi.gov U.S. Secret Service- http://secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml Detroit branch of Secret Service- 313-226-6400 More Information Department of Justice- www.usdoj/gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft Tips for organizing your case Write down the name of everyone you talk to what they tell you to do, and the date of the conversation. Follow up with everyone in writing Keep copies of all the correspondence that you send Tips for organizing your case Keep the originals of the supporting documents, like police reports and letters to and from creditors Set up a filing system and keep old files in case anything crops up Download the Identity Theft workshop handout for sample letters to credit bureaus and creditors.
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