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Credit Dispute Form Letters

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					  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 kathryng@umcu.org bethb@umcu.org
      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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