Information About Identity Theft!
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater San Antonio
6851 Citizens Parkway, Suite 100
San Antonio, Texas 78229
1-800-410-2227 or 210-979-4300
With additional locations in the Northeast, Southside, and Southwest areas.
Also offices in Austin, Boerne, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, San Marcos, Seguin and Uvalde
The following sources have been used for information in this presentation:
Federal Trade Commission
Identity Theft Resource Center
Privacy Rights Clearing House
“Victim to Victor” by Mari J. Frank
http://www.texasfightsidtheft.gov - Texas Attorney General’s website:
www.OnGuardOnline.gov - This site is supported by the following federal agencies:
Department of Commerce
Office of Justice Programs
Securities and Exchange Commission
US Postal Inspection Service
1. Don’t carry your Social Security Card with you. Store it in a safe place.
Review your annual benefits statement for accuracy.
Avoid providing your SSN for use as identification.
Ask Questions: Why it is needed? How will it be used and protected?
Can another number be used? If not, speak to a supervisor.
Guidelines for Providing Social Security Numbers
Internal Revenue Service Tax Returns
U.S. Treasury Savings Bonds
Employers Wage and Tax Reporting
Banks, Credit Unions & Credit Card Companies Monetary Transactions
U.S. Dept. of Labor Unemployment & Workers Compensation
U.S. Dept. of Education Schools, Student loans
U.S. Dept of Transportation Drivers License
U.S. Dept. of State Passports
State Departments Public Assistance, Food Stamps
Doctors, Dentists, Hospitals, Insurance Companies Medicaid, Medicare, Insurance Claims
Social Security Administration Benefits
Doctor and Dentist Intake Forms Not Related to Medicare or Disability
Cash or Check Purchases As a Form of Identification
Supermarkets or Drugstores Club / Discount Membership
Airlines As a Form of Identification
2. When using a Credit Card, watch for skimmers, cell phone cameras, etc.
Notice if the card is out of sight longer than expected and ensure it is
returned. Many card companies offer Virtual Account Numbers to use for a
specific time period or purchase to protect your actual account number. Or
use one card specifically for online purchases or travel only.
3. Be suspicious of any unexpected calls, letters or e-mails. Don’t click on messages from
unfamiliar senders and do not provide personal information unless you initiate the contact and
know whom you are contacting.
4. Check your credit report for any unknown accounts or other errors. Call 1-877-322-8228
or online at www.annualcreditreport.com - allows one free report from
each of the three credit reporting agencies every year.
Access a different report every four months to review quarterly.
Most businesses will not open new accounts without checking a consumer’s Credit Report.
This provides Consumers with two options that may limit unauthorized use of credit
report information to obtain new credit or open new accounts. These are:
Credit (Security) Freeze – restricts access
Fraud Alert – requires identity verification
A Credit (Security) Freeze is available to any consumer in Texas regardless of the threat
of Identity Theft. It will prohibit, with certain exceptions, the credit reporting agency from
releasing your credit report or any information from it without your authorization. A fee
(around $10) is charged for placing, temporarily lifting, or removing a security freeze.
Victims of Identity Theft, with a police report receive these services at no charge.
A Fraud Alert is a statement added to your Credit Report to warn potential creditors, etc.
of the possibility of Identity Theft. This statement asks the reviewer to use “reasonable
policies and procedures” to verify identity. There are two types of “Fraud Alerts” offered
to individuals that suspect or are actual victims of identity theft.
1. The “Initial” Alert is in place for 90 days and can be renewed as many times as
necessary. This type should be used when a purse or wallet is stolen or after a response
to “phishing” or other scams. (Check out www.shieldsafe.com – renewal alerts)
2. The “Extended” Alert requires a police report and can be effective for seven years.
TO PLACE AN “ALERT” OR “FREEZE”: Submit a request to at least one:
Equifax Security Experian Security Trans Union Security
P.O. Box 105788 P.O. Box 9554 P.O. Box 6790
Atlanta, GA 30348 Allen, TX 75013 Fullerton, CA 92834
1-800-525-6285 1-888-397-3742 1-800-680-7289
www.equifax.com www.experian.com www.transunion.com
The written request should:
Be sent by certified mail
Include a completed copy of the FTC, Identity Theft Affidavit.
Include all addresses for the prior five (5) years.
Provide proof of current address, such as a current utility or phone bill
Include a photocopy of a government issued identification card (state driver’s
license or ID card, military identification, etc.)
Include a copy of a police report of alleged identity fraud to avoid the fee.
Pay the fee if applicable, by check, money order, or credit card.
5. Examine your credit card statements for any unknown charges – address any
discrepancies right away. After 30-60 days the company may not be so helpful.
Check your checking account balances frequently to ensure no unauthorized
charges. Debit card discrepancies must be addressed within 2 days.
6. Protect your computer by updating your virus protection, installing a firewall and assuming
any e-mail asking for personal information is a phishing attempt. Back up your computer in
case of an attack such as with a secure site. Put real passwords on
your accounts – use a combination of upper and lower case letters and
numbers with not less than (6) six characters. Free Software and Back
up services are available.
7. Secure the home front: Store personal information in a safe place and
limit access. Include copies of the front and back of credit cards, copies of
billing statements, checkbooks, tax returns, military documents, divorce
decree, school records, etc.
8. Guard your mail from theft- use only locked mailboxes. Don’t use the
mail pick up flag – instead drop off at a secure receptacle. Don’t ignore
any change of address notices from the U.S.P.S. Know your billing cycles
and when to expect new statements. Missing a bill or statement may
mean someone has changed your address.
9. Opt out of receiving prescreened credit card offers by calling 1-888-567-
8688 and ask to have your name and address excluded from their list.
To opt out of telemarketing calls, call from the phone you are going to
exclude for registration on the “Do Not Call” list at 1-888-382-1222.
10. Invest in a shredder or take advantage of “Shredding” opportunities
in your community - shred anything with your name or any personal
information before discarding.
11. Use Safe Checks - those that contain fraud protection to help prevent “washing.”
Never use a Debit Card for Internet purchases. Use only well established and familiar ATM’s.
Cover the keypad when entering your pin… watch for cameras, attachments and any
onlookers that could compromise your Debit Card.
12. Practice safe shopping: Online – use only secure sites that encrypt
your order and payment information. (Look for: “https://www.” or the
closed padlock icon) In the store - don’t leave your purse in the cart
while you turn away.
Resources and Helpful Information
www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free credit report
www.OnGuardonline.gov educational, interactive website for any age
www.staysafeonline.org educational, computer safety
www.ic3.gov to report computer virus or hacking
www.spam.uce.gov to report phishing scams
www.dmachoice.org to opt out of junk mail (/EMS = e-mail)
www.optoutprescreen.com to opt out of Credit and Insurance offers
www.fakechecks.org information on how Check Scams work
1-888-567-8688 to “opt out” of Credit Card offers
1-888-382-1222 to “opt out” of Telemarketing calls
1-877-322-8228 for a free Credit Report by mail
Help for Identity Theft Victims:
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater San Antonio
6851 Citizens Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78229
1-800-410-2227 or 210-979-4300
www.cccssa.org or www.identitytheftcounseling.org
Texas Attorney General:
Provides an ID Theft Victim Kit at:
Identity Theft Hotline: (866) 720-8100 or (800) 252-8011
Texas Legal Service Center
Victims Initiative for Counseling, Advocacy, and Restoration (VICARS)
at www.idvictim.org or 1-888-343-4414
Federal Trade Commission
To report ID Theft to the FTC: 1-877- 438- 4338 or www.ftc.gov/idtheft
FIRST RESPONSE FOR LOST OR STOLEN WALLET OR PURSE
Report to Police
Call Credit Bureau to initiate 90 Day Fraud Alert
Call Each Credit Card Company
Replace Drivers License (Duplicate allows someone else to use your license)
Call Bank: Debit Card or Checkbook (close account / stop missing checks )
Contact issuers: Health Insurance Card, Military ID, Library Card, Other Membership Cards, etc.
FIRST RESPONSE FOR INCORRECT CREDIT REPORT
Caution: Do Not Assume ID THEFT – Requires Victim to Prove Theft
Dispute All Incorrect Information With Each Credit Reporting Agency
Dispute Incorrect Information With Each Creditor – They Must Prove You Owe Debt
If Not Corrected:
File Police Report
Complete ID Theft Affidavit
Provide Identification: Picture ID, Second ID or SS Card and Copy of Utility Bill
Send Copies of All of the Above to Each Creditor and Credit Bureau
If Not Corrected: Obtain Legal Assistance (Personal Attorney or VICARS)
FIRST RESPONSE FOR UNAUTHORIZED USE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Contact Social Security Administration: Determine if Someone is Using Your Number for Employment
Obtain Copy of Benefits Statement Form # SSA-7005
Call: 1-800-269-0271 or http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html#using
DO NOT obtain a new number – history of school, employment, etc. does not follow new number
Remember: Use of Your SSN for Credit will NOT be Reported to the Social Security Administration
Report to IRS: Call: 1-800-829-1040
If required to pay taxes on this income:
Contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate at 512-499-5875
Complete Form 911 at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f911.pdf and mail to:
Taxpayer Advocate, 300 E 8th St. , Stop 1005 AUS Room 136, Austin, TX 75242
Guidelines for Stashing and Trashing Important Papers
Reduce the Possibility of Compromise by Properly Storing or Destroying Documents
Getting replacement documents is a hassle so store these documents in a
safe place, forever: birth, death, and marriage certificates, adoption papers,
Keep For Life divorce decrees, health records, life insurance policies, wills, and social
Keep tax-related documents for a minimum of three years, but seven years
7-Year Rule is recommended. Separate all related paperwork by year so discarding older
documents is easier.
Hang on to documents that have to do with your vehicle as long as you own
Auto the car, like registrations, repair receipts, warranties, and user manuals
Store for seven years unless bank maintains customer records electronically
Bank Statements – (check with your bank) Store canceled checks for a year.
Unless needed for tax purposes or an outstanding loan, statements
connected to credit accounts can be discarded after confirming accuracy;
Credit Accounts keep records pertaining to a settled collections account indefinitely as proof
if the issue resurfaces.
Employment Keep W-2 forms for seven years; Hold onto offer letters and performance
Records evaluations for the extent of each position.
If not needed for tax deductions, throw away monthly bills after checking
Monthly Bills accuracy. Keep final statements that show the account is paid in full for a
few years in case it appears in collections out of the blue.
Pay Stubs Dispose of pay stubs after receipt of annual W-2 and all details are accurate.
Keep all documents pertaining to your home for at least the time that it is
Real Estate owned, including sales contracts, deeds, mortgage paperwork, appraisals,
Records etc. For tax purposes, keep all transaction records and receipts for any
costly home improvements.
Get rid of any expired policies and claims information that won't get tax-
Insurance deductions; store any papers connected to insurance payouts for at least
seven years and hold on to current coverage policies until they're irrelevant.
Investments and Maintain transaction records for taxable accounts and keep annual 1099s for
Retirement at least seven years. No need to keep documents that don't involve tax
Accounts implications. Hang on to any papers related to nondeductible contributions
For expensive items in case needed for an insurance claim. For items that
Receipts came with a warranty as proof of purchase
Warranties Trash once they expire
Medical identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information to obtain medical
products and services or insurance reimbursements in your name. Incorrect information in your file
may affect your future health treatment, make it difficult to obtain health or life insurance in the future
or have other serious consequences.
According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), an average of 150
people ‘‘from nursing staff to x-ray technicians, to billing clerks’’ have access to a patient’s medical
records during the course of a typical hospitalization.
To determine if your personal information has been compromised:
• Check your credit report. Look for medical debts that are not yours.
• Ask to review your medical files. Most people are entitled by law to access their files from
their medical providers. Expect to wait 30 to 60 days and to be charged a fee for copies, but
you should be able to look at them for free.
• Check “Explanation of Benefits” (EOBs). Scrutinize forms sent by your insurer for
erroneous charges and office visits you didn't make.
• Obtain “List of Benefits”. Every year ask for a listing of benefits paid by your health insurer
in your name. Watch for payments made for services or products your family did not receive.
• Request an “Accounting of Disclosure” HIPPA provides you the right to receive this history
of disclosures from your health-care providers and insurer. This will tell you who's been looking
at your records, when, why, and what kind of records have been disclosed.
If incorrect information is discovered:
• File a Police Report
• Contact each provider: ask that all incorrect information be removed
• Don’t stop there. Also look at other related services such as pharmacies, labs, etc.
• File a complaint: If a health care provider has not allowed you to see your own medical
records contact the Office of Civil Rights at Health and Human Services at 1-800-368-1019 or
online at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/
As Healthcare Providers, you can help prevent Medical Identity Theft by becoming:
• Aware of the crime
• Aware of the need to guard personal information including Insurance and Medicare/ Medicaid
• Aware of the reasons patients may be requesting a copy of their health care files.
For More Information or Identity Theft Victim Assistance:
Call 1-800-410-2227 or 210-979-4300
Or access the websites at: www.cccssa.org
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater San Antonio has helped thousand regain their
peace of mind. CCCSSA is a not-for-profit 501 C(3) agency offering many Educational and Counseling Services:
Financial Education offered every month:
Money Principles For Today - Learn how to put money to work for you and gain a better understanding of credit.
Money Management Basics - Develop a system that is right for you.
Building a Better Credit Portfolio – Learn about credit reporting and how credit scores impact consumer options.
Also offered upon request:
College Credit for Life- helps college students understand and utilize credit.
Credit Cards, What You Need To Know – stresses the difference in cards and offers tips to avoid fees
Foreclosure Prevention Basics – Helps homeowners become familiar with options when facing financial hardship and
make informed decisions.
F Y I on IDT – Information about Identity Theft prevention, DIY and other products and victim assistance.
Budget and Credit Counseling
Bankruptcy: Pre-filing Counseling
Credit Report Analysis
Debt Management Plan
Housing Counseling: Foreclosure Prevention
Identity Theft Resolution
Letter Writing Service
Student Loan Repayment Plans