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ID Theft Actions (After Theft)

Important phone #'s at end of this

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We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed using your name, address, SS#, credit, etc. Unfortunately I (author of this piece) have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month and within a week the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know.  As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily (having to hunt for them is additional stress you WON'T need at that point!).   I remember losing a MC and until I got the toll free number from information, etc. I was a wreck. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important: I never ever thought to do this.

Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this - almost 2 weeks after the theft all the damage had been done (there are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert).  Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in).  It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are:
Equifax 1-800 525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration also has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271

Just a reminder, if you or someone you know is a victim of Identity Theft, you will want to go to the below websites for valuable information to assist in clearing your good name.  Although new laws have been enacted, it is still up to the victim of identity theft to do the research and prepare a journal of activity.  Copies of the journal can be provided to law enforcement, financial institutions, merchants, collection agencies and the credit bureaus as needed.
 
 

SUGGESTIONS  TO  ASSIST  TRUE  PERSON  WITH  FRAUDULENT  USE  OF  IDENTITY

 PREPARE AN ACTIVITY JOURNAL IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER: 

USE A COMPUTER IF AVAILABLE, TO SIMPLIFY UPDATING.

BEGIN WITH FIRST INCIDENT OF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY.

DOCUMENT DATES, TIMES, LOCATIONS, PERSONS IN CONTACT WITH, ADDRESSES, PHONE NUMBERS AND THE GIST OF CONVERSATION.

INCLUDE POLICE AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE / TIME REPORTED.

INCLUDE COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS RECEIVED OR RELEASED. 

PREPARE A COVER LETTER: 

TO BE USED FOR WRITTEN CONTACT WITH POLICE, MERCHANTS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, COLLECTION AGENCIES ETC.

DESCRIBE TRUE PERSON IDENTITY.

INCLUDE PHOTO(S) ON DOCUMENT SUCH AS DRIVER’S LICENSE, EMPLOYMENT ID/PHOTO.

DESCRIBE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEFT OF IDENTIFICATION. 

PREPARE A MASTER LETTER: 

TO BE USED FOR PROMPT REPLY TO INQUIRY BY MERCHANTS, COLLECTION AGENCIES, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, POLICE ETC.

IDENTIFY TRUE PERSON.

IDENTIFY WHAT WAS STOLEN.

POLICE AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE AND TIME THEFT REPORTED.

LEAVE SPACE TO RESPOND TO THE FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT IN QUESTION.

STATE THE REASONS WHY TRUE PERSON NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY.

RECOMMEND FILING FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT REPORT WITH LOCAL POLICE AGENCY. 

PREPARE COVER LETTER: 

TO BE USED WHEN NOTIFYING ENTITIES OR INDIVIDUALS OF FRAUDULENT USE OF TRUE PERSON IDENTIFY.

USE WITH COPY OF JOURNAL THAT IS BROUGHT CURRENT. 

NOTIFY: 

THE CREDIT BUREAUS AND PLACE FRAUD ALERT ON CREDIT HISTORY.

TELE-CHECK AND CHEX-SYSTEMS TO IDENTIFY OTHER NEGATIVE ACTIVITY IF ON FILE.

DRIVER’S LICENSE BUREAUS TO DETERMINE IF DRIVER’S LICENSE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED WITH CHANGE OF ADDRESS AND PHOTO. 

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REPORT IMPERSONATION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT: 

IF A THEFT REPORT IS ALREADY ON FILE, THE COVER LETTER AND COPY OF JOURNAL SHOULD BE SUBMITTED AND INCLUDED WITH ORIGINAL POLICE REPORT OF THEFT.

IF THERE IS NO KNOWN THEFT OF IDENTIFICATION, REPORT INFORMATION TO THE LOCAL POLICE AGENCY IN WHICH TRUE PERSON RESIDES.

UPDATE JOURNAL WITH POLICE AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE, TIME AND NAME OF OFFICER / DETECTIVE REPORT FILED WITH. 

THE REPORT IS TO ASSIST LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION IF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY IS REPORTED.

IF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IS RELUCTANT TO TAKE A REPORT, CONTACT DETECTIVE RESPONSIBLE FOR FORGERY AND FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS.

IF UNABLE TO FILE REPORT WITH POLICE, INCLUDE THE INFORMATION IN JOURNAL.

 

THE TRUE PERSON SHOULD BE AWARE THAT RESOLVING THE ISSUE OF IMPERSONATION MIGHT REQUIRE PERSEVERANCE.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DOCUMENT ALL ACTIVITY SO THAT IF REQUIRED TO REPLY TO AN INQUIRY, THE NECESSARY INFORMATION IS READILY AVAILABLE AND CURRENT.  AN INQUIRER CAN BE REFERRED TO OTHERS THAT HAVE MUTUAL INTERESTS IDENTIFYING THE IMPERSONATOR TO AVOID FURTHER POTENTIAL LOSSES.  THE INCLUSION OF ONE OR MORE PHOTOS WITH THE COVER LETTER OR MASTER LETTER MAY FURTHER CLARIFY THAT AN IMPERSONATION HAS TAKEN PLACE.  THE DISSEMINATION OF THIS INFORMATION SHOULD BE MADE WITH CAUTION AND DIRECTED TO ONLY THOSE THAT HAVE A NEED.  THE TRUE PERSON MAY WISH TO LATER INQUIRE WITH THE CREDIT BUREAUS TO DETERMINE IF ADDITIONAL IMPERSONATION HAS TAKEN PLACE. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED ON THE INTERNET BY USING A SEARCH ENGINE FOR IDENTITY+THEFT OR IDENTITY+FRAUD. 

THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES ALSO HAVE INFORMATION RELATIVE TO IDENTITY THEFT INCLUDING ADDITIONAL LINKS: 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/  (See links to other sites)

http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel/            www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/01/soldiersent.htm

www.identitytheft.org                              www.privacyrights.org

www.ftc.gov                                          www.prig.org

www.zerojunkmail.com/idtheft.html            www.idfrfaud.com

www.bankinfo.com                                http://www.flash.net/~bob001/internet.htm

http://www.futurecrime.com/                 www.aarp.org/confacts/money/identity.htm

http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/ident.htm            http://www.gctfcu.org/hffo-new/0399_b.htm

http://www.pimall.com/nais/trends.html            http://www.epic.org/

http://www.identitytheft.org/resources.htm

http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ssn.faq.html

http://www.seattleinsider.com/shared-cgi/search/director

http://www.ipc.on.ca/web_site.eng/matters/sum_pap/papers/ident-e.htm

 

M ajor Credit Bureaus:

EQUIFAX CORPORATION         EXPERIAN (formerly TRW)         TRANSUNION

To Order Report:                              To Order Report:                          To Order Report:

(800) 997-2493                             (888) 397-3742 or 1-800-520-1221     (800) 888-4213

Fraud # (800) 525-6285                 Fraud # (800) 311-4769 (option 4)     Fraud # (800) 680-7289

http://www.equifax.com                     http://www.experian.com                     http://www.tuc.com

Identity Theft

 

This is the fifth part of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

Last week, we looked at the steps you need to take if you become a victim of Identity Theft. This week we will look at places to get help and cite state laws designed to protect you.

 

The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from consumers who have been victimized. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, the Commission can help victims of identity theft by providing information to assist them in resolving the financial and other problems that can result from this crime. The FTC also refers victim complaints to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. If you've been a victim of identity theft, file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline by telephone:

Toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438- 4338)

TDD: 202-326-2502

Mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse,

Federal Trade Commission

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,

Washington, DC 20580

Online: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

Other agencies and organizations also are working to combat identity theft. If specific institutions and companies are not being responsive to your questions and complaints, you also may want to contact the government agencies with jurisdiction over those companies.

 

Federal Laws The Federal government and numerous states have passed laws that address the problem of identity theft. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, enacted by Congress in October 1998 (and codified, in part, at 18 U. S. C. §1028) is the federal law directed at identity theft.

 

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Identity Theft, Continued…

 

Violations of the Act are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, including the U. S. Secret Service, the FBI, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service and SSA's Office of the Inspector General. Federal identity theft cases are prosecuted by the U. S. Department of Justice. In most instances, a conviction for identity theft carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the crime. The Act also directs the U. S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend the federal sentencing guidelines to provide appropriate penalties for those persons convicted of identity theft.

 

Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud also may involve violations of other statutes, such as credit card fraud; computer fraud; mail fraud; wire fraud; financial institution fraud; or Social Security fraud. Each of these federal offenses is a felony and carries substantial penalties - in some cases, as high as 30 years in prison, fines and criminal forfeiture.

 

State Laws Many states have passed laws related to identity theft; others may be considering such legislation. Where specific identity theft laws do not exist, the practices may be prohibited under other laws. Contact your State Attorney General's office or local consumer protection agency to find out whether your state has laws related to identity theft, or visit:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

State laws that had been enacted at the time of this booklet's publication are listed below.

 

Alabama 2001 Al. Pub. Act 312; 2001 A1. SB 144

Alaska Alaska Stat § 11.46.180

Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13- 2008

Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 5- 37- 227

California Cal. Penal Code §§ 530.5- 530.7

Colorado Colo. Rev Stat. § 18- 5- 102

Connecticut 1999 Gen. Stat. § 53( a)- 129( a) Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. II, § 854

Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 817.568

Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16- 9- 121, 16- 9- 127 Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708- 810z

Idaho Idaho Code § 18- 3126

Illinois 720 III. Comp. Stat. 5/ 16 G

Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 35- 43- 5- 4 (2000)

Iowa Iowa Code § 715A. 8

Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21- 4018

Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 514.160

Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14: 67.16

Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17- A, § 354- 2A Maryland Md. Code Ann. art. 27 § 231

Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 37E Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.285

Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 609.527

Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 97- 19- 85

Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.223

Montana H. B. 331, 2001 Leg. (not yet codified) Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 205.463- 465

 

 

New Hampshire N. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 638: 26

New Jersey N. J. Stat. Ann. § 2C: 21- 17

New Mexico H. B. 317, 2001 Leg. 45th Sess.

North Carolina N. C. Gen. Stat. § 14- 113.20 13

North Dakota N. D. Cent. Codes § 12.1- 23

Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2913.49

Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1533.1

Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 165.800

Pennsylvania 18 Pa. Cons. State § 4120

Rhode Island R. I. Gen. Laws § 11- 49.1- 1

South Carolina S. C. Code Ann. § 16- 13- 500, 501 South Dakota S. D. Codified Laws § 22- 30A- 3.1. Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39- 14- 150

Texas Tex. Penal Code § 32.51

Utah Utah Code Ann. § 76- 6- 1101- 1104

Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 18.2- 186.3

Washington Wash. Rev. Code § 9.35.020

West Virginia W. Va. Code § 61- 3- 54

Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 943.201

Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6- 3- 901

 

U. S. Territories

Guam 9 Guam Code Ann. § 46.80

U. S. Virgin Islands 14 VI Code Ann. §§ 3003

 

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Identity Theft

 

This is the sixth part of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

Last week, we looked at places to get help and we cited state laws designed to protect you. This week we will look we will look at resolving credit problems caused by identity theft.

Resolving credit problems resulting from identity theft can be time-consuming and frustrating. The good news is that there are federal laws that establish procedures for correcting credit report errors and billing errors, and for stopping debt collectors from contacting you about debts you don't owe. Here is a brief summary of your rights, and what to do to clear up credit problems that result from identity theft.

 

Credit Reports

 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on your credit record and requires that your record be made available only for certain legitimate business needs. Under the FCRA, both the credit bureau and the organization that provided the information to the credit bureau (the "information provider"), such as a bank or credit card company, are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To protect your rights under the law, contact both the credit bureau and the information provider.

 

First, call the credit bureau and follow up in writing. Tell them what information you believe is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report that you dispute, give the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with circles around the items in question. Your letter may look something like the sample at right. Send your letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt so you can document what the credit bureau received and when. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit bureaus must investigate the items in question - usually within 30 days - unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the information provider. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit bureau, it must investigate, review all relevant information provided by the credit bureau and report the results to the credit bureau. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify any nationwide credit bureau that it reports to so that the credit bureaus can correct this information in your file. Note that:

 

·          Disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.

 

·          If your report contains erroneous information, the credit bureau must correct it.

 

·          If an item is incomplete, the credit bureau must complete it. For example, if your file shows that you have been late making payments, but fails to show that you are no longer delinquent, the credit bureau must show that you're current.

 

·          If your file shows an account that belongs to someone else, the credit bureau must delete it.

 

When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, the credit bureau cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the credit bureau gives you a written notice that includes the name, address and phone number of the information provider.

 

If you request, the credit bureau must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. Job applicants can have a corrected copy of their report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes. If an investigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the credit bureau to include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.

 

Second, in addition to writing to the credit bureau, tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Again, include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many information providers specify an address for disputes. If the information provider then reports the item to any credit bureau, it must include a notice of your dispute. In addition, if you are correct - that is, if the disputed information is not accurate - the information provider may not use it again. For more information, consult How to Dispute Credit Report Errors and Fair Credit Reporting, two brochures available from the FTC or at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

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Identity Theft

 

This is the seventh part of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

This week we will continue looking at resolving credit problems caused by identity theft.

 

Credit Cards: The Truth in Lending Act limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges in most cases to $50 per card. The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts. The Act's settlement procedures apply to disputes about "billing errors." This includes fraudulent charges on your accounts.

To take advantage of the law’s consumer protections, you must:

  ·          write to the creditor at the address given for “billing  inquiries,” not the address for sending your payments.  Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error, including the amount and date of the error.  

·          send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing  the error was mailed to  you. If the address on your  account was changed by an identity thief and you never received the bill, your dispute  letter still must reach the creditor within 60 days of when the creditor would have mailed the bill. This is why it’s so important to keep track of your billing statements and immediately follow up when your bills don’t arrive on time.  

Send your letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt. This will be your proof of the date the creditor received the letter. Include copies (NOT originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your 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 two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter.

 

For more information, see Fair Credit Billing and Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud, two brochures available from the FTC or at: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

Identity Theft

 

This is the ninth part of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

This week we will continue looking at resolving credit problems caused by identity theft.

 ATM Cards, Debit Cards and Electronic Fund Transfers

 The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides consumer protections for transactions involving an ATM or debit card or other electronic way to debit or credit an account. It also limits your liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers.

 

It’s important to report lost or stolen ATM and debit cards immediately because the amount you can be held responsible for depends on how quickly you report the loss.

 ·          If you report your ATM card lost or stolen within two business days of discovering the loss or theft, your losses are limited to $50.

 

·          If you report your ATM card lost or stolen after the two business days, but within 60 days after a statement showing an unauthorized electronic fund transfer, you can be liable for up to $500 of what a thief withdraws.

 

·          If you wait more than 60 days, you could lose all the money that was taken from your account after the end of the 60 days and before you report your card missing.

 

The best way to protect yourself in the event of an error or fraudulent transaction is to call the financial institution and follow up in writing – by certified letter, return receipt requested – so you can prove when the institution received your letter. Keep a copy of the letter you send for your records.

 

After notification about an error on your statement, the institution generally has 10 business days to investigate. The financial institution must tell you the results of its investigation within three business days after completing it and must correct an error within one business day after determining that the error has occurred. If the institution needs more time, it may take up to 45 days to complete the investigation – but only if the money in dispute is returned to your account and you are notified promptly of the credit. At the end of the investigation, if no error has been found, the institution may take the money back if it sends you a written explanation.

 Note: VISA and MasterCard voluntarily have agreed to limit consumers’ liability for unauthorized use of their debit cards in most instances to $50 per card, no matter how much time has elapsed since the discovery of the loss or theft of the card.

 For more information, consult Electronic Banking and Credit and ATM Cards: What to Do If They’re Lost or Stolen, two brochures available from the FTC or at:http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

 

This is the eleventh part of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:

 

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

This week we will continue to look at some available resources regarding identity theft.

Identity Theft, Continued…

 

Banking Agencies - If you're having trouble getting your financial institution to help you resolve your banking- related identity theft problems - including problems with bank- issued credit cards - contact the agency with the appropriate jurisdiction. If you're not sure which agency has jurisdiction over your institution, call your bank or visit:

 http://www.ffiec.gov/nic/default.htm

 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) http://www.fdic.gov

 The FDIC supervises state- chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System and insures deposits at banks and savings and loans. Call the FDIC Consumer Call Center at:

 1-800-934-3342; or write:  

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs

550 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20429.

 

FDIC publications:

Classic Cons... And How to Counter Them

www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnsprg98/cons.Html

 Your Wallet: A Loser's Manual

www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall97/wallet.Html

 

A Crook Has Drained Your Account. Who Pays?

www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnsprg98/crook.html

 

 

 

 

   

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Identity Theft

 This is part thirteen of a series about Identity theft, what it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you become a victim of this crime. Preceding issues have given the basic steps to avoid becoming a victim. The next couple of issues will provide additional resource information. This report, compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is available online at:http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 Last week we looked at helpful resources within the banking industry. This week we will continue to provide additional resources regarding identity theft.

 

Department of Justice (DOJ)

http://www.usdoj.gov

 

The DOJ and its U.S. Attorneys prosecute federal identity theft cases. Information on identity theft is available at:http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

 http://www.fbi.gov

 

The FBI is one of the federal criminal law enforcement agencies that investigate cases of identity theft. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

 

FBI publication:

 

·          Protecting Yourself Against Identity Fraud

 

http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/norfolk/1999/ident.htm

 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) http://www.fcc.gov

 

The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s Consumer Information Bureau is the consumer’s one-stop source for information, forms, applications and current issues before the FCC. Call: 1-888-CALL-FCC; TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC; or write: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 5A863, Washington, DC 20554. You can file complaints via the online complaint form at:  http://www.fcc.gov

 

For e-mail questions to: fccinfo@fcc.gov

 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) http://www.treas.gov/irs/ci 

The IRS is responsible for administering and enforcing the internal revenue laws. If you believe someone has assumed your identity to file federal Income Tax Returns, or to commit other tax fraud, call toll-free: 1-800-829-0433

 For assistance to victims of identity theft schemes who are having trouble filing their correct returns, call the IRS Taxpayer Advocates Office, toll-free: 1-877-777-4778 

U.S. Secret Service (USSS)

http://www.treas.gov/usss

  

The U.S. Secret Service is one of the federal law enforcement agencies that investigate financial crimes, which may include identity theft. Although the Secret Service generally investigates cases where the dollar loss is substantial, your information may provide evidence of a larger pattern of fraud requiring their involvement. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

 ·          Financial Crimes Division

http://www.treas.gov/usss/financial_crimes.htm

 

·          Frequently Asked Questions: Protecting Yourself

http://www.treas.gov/usss/faq.htm

 

Social Security Administration (SSA)

http://www.ssa.gov

 

SSA may assign you a new SSN – at your request – if you continue to experience problems even after trying to resolve the problems resulting from identity theft. SSA field office employees work closely with victims of identity theft and third parties to collect the evidence needed to assign a new SSN in these cases.

 SSA Office of the Inspector General (SSA/OIG)

 The SSA/OIG is one of the federal law enforcement agencies that investigate cases of identity theft. If need to report direct allegations that an SSN has been stolen or misused contact:

 SSA Fraud Hotline at: 1-800-269-0271

Fax: 410-597-0118

Or, write:

 

SSA Fraud Hotline

P.O. Box 17768

Baltimore, MD 21235

 

Or, by e-mail: oig.hotline@ssa.gov

  

SSA publications:

 

·          SSA Fraud Hotline for Reporting Fraud – http://www.ssa.gov/oig/guidelin.htm

 

·          Social Security – When Someone Misuses Your Number (SSA Pub. No. 05-10064)

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html

 

·          Social Security – Your Number and Card (SSA Pub. No. 05-10002) http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10002.html

 Next week we continue with additional resources to help protect you  against Identity Theft. If you missed the beginning of this series, the entire text is available at:

http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 

 

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NEWER INFO:

Fraud Contact Information (Source: http://www.fightidentitytheft.com/flag.html)
Use the numbers on this page to contact the different private and public agencies about fraud. Especially important are the credit bureaus. Asking them to put a "fraud alert" on your credit file should slow down anyone trying to open more credit in your name.

Credit Bureau Fraud Departments

TransUnion
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
Phone: 800-680-7289
Fax: 714-447-6034

P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834


Equifax
Consumer Fraud Division
Phone: 800-525-6285 or: 404-885-8000
Fax: 770-375-2821

P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374


Experian
Experian's National Consumer Assistance
Phone: 888-397-3742

P.O. Box 9530
Allen, TX 75013

What is a Fraud Alert?
A fraud alert is something that the major credit bureaus attach to your credit report. When you, or someone else, tries to open up a credit account by getting a new credit card, car loan, cell phone, etc., the lender should contact you by phone to verify that you really want to open a new account. If you aren't reachable by phone, the credit account shouldn't be opened.

A creditor isn't required by law to contact you, however, even if you have fraud alert in place.

How Do I Set Up a Fraud Alert?
It's pretty easy. Just contact the fraud department of one of the credit bureaus and ask them to flag your credit file for fraud. You'll probably talk to an automated voice response system and it should only take a few minutes.

What Happens When I Activate a Fraud Alert?

Within 24 hours, an alert will be placed on your credit file at all three major credit bureaus. They now share data so when you call one of the bureaus, your alert request is sent to the other bureaus automatically.

Your name will be removed from all pre-approved credit and insurance offers for two years.

You will be sent a credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus by mail. Expect 1 - 2 weeks for delivery.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Fraud Alert?
Activating a fraud alert will cause you a problem if you're used to walking into an electronics store, signing up for their amazing "don't pay anything until 2009" credit offer, and walking out of the store with a new big-screen TV. With a fraud alert active, you have to be available at either your work phone or home phone to approve opening the credit account. No big deal. It will just require a short delay in your instant gratification and a call-back to the credit company authorizing the new account.

If you can live with that, putting a fraud alert on your credit will help protect you in some situations.

On the plus side, a fraud alert won't cause any problems with using your credit card or checking accounts. It's focused on new credit accounts, not the ones you already have opened.

The ScamBusters.org Identity Theft Information Center provides valuable information and resources on identity theft. 

http://www.scambusters.org/identitytheft.html

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