stolen identity en-US 18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="surprising ways your identity can be stolen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people have already been victims of the most basic forms of identity theft &mdash; having fraudulent charges on your credit card. Those even less lucky have been victimized in more aggressive ways, with criminals obtaining medical care, working, and flying in our names.</p> <p>Unwinding that mess can take years and thousands of dollars. The effect is exacerbated by the fact that the crime doesn't generally stop with the one person who stole your information. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data gets packaged and sold on the underground Internet so that different people all over the world could be impersonating you at the same time.</p> <p>&quot;It's a pain. It does cause a lot of stress,&quot; said Lindsay Bartsh, of San Rafael, California, who said that straightening out a web of fraudulent medical bills, flights, job applications, and credit applications took every minute of her free time for a year.</p> <p>How does it happen? Here's a look at both the most common ways thieves steal our data, as well as some of the newest ploys to watch out for.</p> <h2>1. Mail Theft</h2> <p>Bartsh believes this time-honored tactic is how her personal information got out into the criminal underworld. An expected W-2 tax form never arrived. Assuming it was stolen, it would have given thieves a wealth of information, such as Social Security number and workplace.</p> <h2>2. Database Hacks</h2> <p>When a large corporation gets hacked, the effect can be widespread. When the U.S. government's <a href="" target="_blank">Office of Personnel Management was breached</a>, some 22 million people had their personal information exposed. (I was one of the many who received a warning about this, because I had a writing contract with a government agency.)</p> <h2>3. Malicious Software</h2> <p>If you have a virus on your computer, you may suffer more than a slowdown or a system crash. Some malicious programs that spread as viruses record every keystroke you type, allowing thieves to find out your online banking username and password. These programs can infect your mobile phone as well as your computer.</p> <h2>4. Search Engine Poisoning</h2> <p>This is a sneaky way of tricking people into giving up their own personal data, or getting malicious software onto a person's computer. The criminals create a fake website similar to a real one, or that could plausibly be a real one.</p> <p>One tactic is for you to click through to the fake site and try to buy a product, entering your credit card or debit card number. Another way they try to get you is for you to unknowingly download information-stealing software onto your computer.</p> <p>Where does the search engine part come in? These criminals manipulate Google and other search engines' algorithms to get their phony sites ranked high in search listings, leading users to believe they must be legit. Fortunately, Google has made progress in preventing this in recent years, but it still happens.</p> <h2>5. Phishing</h2> <p>Phishing is a term that broadly means &quot;fishing&quot; for personal information through a variety of common social interactions &mdash; so-called &quot;social engineering.&quot; The most common phishing attack happens when you get an email that looks like it came from your bank or another legitimate company. It may come with an alarming subject line, such as &quot;overdraft warning&quot; or &quot;your order has shipped.&quot; When you click a link in the email, you may see a login screen identical to your normal login, which will trick you into entering your username and password. You could also be asked for more identifying details, such as Social Security number and account number.</p> <p>Fortunately, banks have put some countermeasures into place to fight phishing. You can also protect yourself by not responding directly to incoming messages. If you get an email that looks like it's from your bank, type your bank address into your browser instead of clicking the link, sign in, and check your account's message center. Or just call your bank's customer service number.</p> <h2>6. Phone Attacks</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service has been warning for several years that <a href="" target="_blank">scammers are calling people claiming to be the IRS</a>, either claiming that they have a refund due or owe money. Fishing for information via the phone is also known as &quot;vishing,&quot; as in, &quot;voice phishing.&quot;</p> <p>If they're taking the refund tactic, they'll probably ask for your bank account number or other personal info, supposedly in order to send you your refund. If they say you owe, they may ask for a credit or debit card number, or worse, try to get a payment in a way that's not traceable or refundable, like through a prepaid debit card.</p> <p>This kind of scam is also known as &quot;pretexting,&quot; and the really good scammers make it seem realistic by having some basic info about you on hand before they call, like your address and date of birth, which are pretty easy to find online.</p> <h2>7. Text Attacks</h2> <p>In another twist on phishing, &quot;smishing,&quot; or SMS phishing, sends you a text message encouraging you to click a link that will either trigger the download of malicious software or direct you to input personal information.</p> <h2>8. Fake Wi-Fi Hotspot</h2> <p>Also known as an &quot;evil twin&quot; hotspot, this is a Wi-Fi connection setup in a public place, like a cafe, with a name that leads you to believe it was provided by someone trustworthy, like the cafe owner. The evil twin Wi-Fi hotspot really connects you to the Internet, just like a legit connection. The difference is, the evil twin is provided by a hacker, who uses specialized software to eavesdrop on information you're sending out &mdash; like your bank password or Social Security number &mdash; or to direct you to a malicious website like those described above.</p> <p>When a hacker interrupts your attempt to access a legitimate website and steals the data you're trying to send, it's called a &quot;<a href="" target="_blank">man in the middle attack</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Dumpster Diving</h2> <p>Another low-tech but very effective method is simply pawing through recycling bins, looking for discarded credit card offers, bills, medical records, and other paperwork that could have personal information on it. Not only can identity thieves hit you at home, they could also search dumpsters outside of medical offices, schools, and banks.</p> <h2>10. Workplace Theft</h2> <p>A U.S. Department of Justice survey of convicted identity thieves found that a third of them <a href="" target="_blank">accessed victims' information through their jobs</a>. The criminals worked for mortgage companies or at government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, where they had access to treasure troves of client information. Others lifted information from job applications.</p> <p>Back in 2000, just one guy was responsible for stealing 33,000 people's credit reports at his credit industry help desk job. He sold the reports to thieves who, according to news reports, used the information to steal up to $100 million.</p> <h2>11. Burglary</h2> <p>When someone breaks into your home or car, it may not be the loss of your jewelry, cash, or laptop that hurts the most. If they find your credit cards, Social security card, or tax returns &mdash; or get such information off a stolen computer &mdash; you could be in for severe identity theft.</p> <h2>12. Pickpocketing</h2> <p>Another old-fashioned crime that has thrived in the era of high-tech data theft, pickpocketing nowadays commonly leads directly to identity theft. In fact, a major ID theft ring busted 10 years ago targeted crowded events to steal wallets and convert the information inside to valuable dossiers of information, which they would later resell.</p> <h2>13. Mobile Phone Theft</h2> <p>If you have authorized your phone to make payments on your behalf, saved passwords for banking and retail sites, or saved other personal data on it, having the device stolen could cost you a lot more than the replacement cost. Phones that aren't password- or fingerprint-protected are most vulnerable.</p> <h2>14. Mobile Phone Account Hijacking</h2> <p>Another form of ID theft targeting phones happens when someone gets ahold of your account information and uses it to <a href="" target="_blank">order a new phone or line</a>, with the bill going to you.</p> <h2>15. Shoulder Surfing</h2> <p>This technique involves watching over someone's shoulder as they enter a password at the ATM, or using a camera to steal the information from farther away. This could also be a tactic for getting someone's phone password before physically stealing the phone.</p> <h2>16. Skimming</h2> <p>This nefarious technique involves stealing credit or debit card information with a card reader that may look just like a legitimate card reader. Skimming devices have been found at gas station pumps, on ATMs, and at retail store registers. Or, waiters in restaurants can put your card through a skimmer when they take it to the back to finalize your bill.</p> <h2>17. Friend and Family Theft</h2> <p>Also known as &quot;familiar fraud,&quot; this crime happens when the ID thief is your child, your parent, even your spouse. Sadly, it's not uncommon for parents to abuse the identities of their own minor children in order to get credit. In a <a href="" target="_blank">disturbing story broadcast on <em>This American Life</em></a>, Rachel Rosenthal couldn't figure out how her identity thief kept catching up with her, no matter how many accounts she closed &mdash; until she realized that the thief lived in her own home and had access to all her mail and documents. It was her boyfriend, who had been &quot;helping&quot; her financially, with money he withdrew from <em>her</em> bank account.</p> <p>Often, these crimes take place in the context of real relationships, where one party happened to turn on the other party. But there are also crooks out there who look for partners specifically to steal their identities, especially on dating sites and social media.</p> <h2>18. Social Engineering Targeting Companies</h2> <p>You don't have to work for a credit agency or mortgage bank to get customer information if you are skilled enough to trick employees into giving it to you. Thieves may call an airline, posing as a secretary who needs her boss's trip information, or call a company pretending to represent a client or supplier. A friendly fast talker may be able to get employees to skip security protocols and give out information they shouldn't. Every call the thief makes is a little easier, armed with the information from the last call</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology hijacking identity identity theft phishing skimming stolen identity tech news Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1905168 at 10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Wallet" title="Wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article is made possible by our underwriter </em><a href=";k4=3441&amp;k5={banner_id}"><em>Equifax</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>We all know that sense of panic when we realize that our wallet or purse is missing. If you&rsquo;re like me, half of your life is in your wallet. Credit cards, debit cards, ID, insurance cards, money &mdash; you name it, it&rsquo;s in there. And if it falls into the wrong hands, it could be devastating. The least that can happen is you lose a little money. But you could be the victim of identity theft and fraud that could have repercussions for years.</p> <p>So what do you do should the worst happen? Here is a checklist for you, featuring some very important numbers and a little advice that you should follow <em>today</em> to help you keep your valuables safe and make reporting a lost wallet a lot easier.</p> <h3>1. First of All, Is It Actually Lost or Stolen, or Just Misplaced?</h3> <p>I can&rsquo;t tell you the number of times I thought my wallet was lost only to realize that it had fallen out of my pocket in the car or I left it in my desk drawer at work. The steps that follow are designed to render the contents of the wallet useless to any would-be thief or opportunist. <em>But</em> they also make life very difficult for you if you later find your wallet down the side of the sofa.</p> <p>You may want to call some of the places you&rsquo;ve been recently, like restaurants, stores, and the mall. People are more honest than they&rsquo;re given credit for, and will usually hand in a wallet or purse if they find one.</p> <p>So before you continue, make sure you&rsquo;ve looked in all the places it could be, and know for certain that it has gone for good. If it really is missing, start with number two.</p> <h3>2. Call the Issuers of Your Credit, Debit, and ATM Cards</h3> <p>Now, many people will tell you to cancel your cards immediately, but that&rsquo;s not actually what you want to do. Cancelling the cards puts wheels in motion that could leave you in a mess, especially with your credit score. What you actually want to do is report the cards as lost or stolen. This is very different than canceling, and every card issuer has a procedure that will suspend those numbers to keep your money safe.&nbsp;</p> <p>The numbers for the four major card companies are as follows:</p> <ul> <li>MASTERCARD: 1-800-627-8372 (US) or 1-636-722-7111 (Global)</li> <li>VISA: 1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-8472-911) or 1-303-967-1096 (Global, call collect)</li> <li>AMEX: 1-800-528-4800</li> <li>DISCOVER: 1-800-347-2683</li> </ul> <p>If your cards are issued by a bank or credit union, call them as well. If checks (including travelers checks) were in your wallet, they can handle that accordingly.</p> <p>After that&rsquo;s done, make sure you get new cards sent to you ASAP with brand new account numbers. You&rsquo;ll want the same credit limits as before, the same (or lower) APR, and any miles that you accrued to be transferred.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, if any of those cards were used for automatic debits, you need to inform those companies within a day or two. If you don&rsquo;t, your account will not be paid, as the card will be rejected. You could go past due and owe fees, or even have your service suspended. If it&rsquo;s a debt that doesn&rsquo;t get paid, your APR could shoot up, or you could get a black mark on your credit score.</p> <h3>3. Put a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze on Your Accounts</h3> <p>The three major credit-reporting agencies &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union &mdash; need to know about your loss immediately. With a fraud alert in place, any creditor will have to verify your identity before approving any new credit. This is usually done with a phone call to a number you put on file with the fraud alert and makes it almost impossible for a thief to run up huge bills on your behalf. The numbers you need are as follows:</p> <ul> <li>Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)</li> <li>Equifax: 1-800-525-6285</li> <li>Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289</li> </ul> <h3>4. Report the Loss or Theft to the Local Authorities</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t trivialize your loss as something that the police don&rsquo;t have time to deal with (but also don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;ll be jumping on the case; there won&rsquo;t be a crime squad trying to track down your wallet). The reason for this step is to provide evidence in your favor should you become a victim of identity theft or fraud. If it happens, you don&rsquo;t want to be explaining why you didn&rsquo;t report the loss. Some information the police may ask you includes:</p> <ul> <li>Where and when you believe you lost your wallet</li> <li>What was actually in the wallet (amount of money, credit cards etc.)</li> <li>A description of the wallet itself</li> <li>If stolen, any suspects or a description of anyone suspicious</li> </ul> <p>When you&rsquo;ve finished filing the report, keep a copy for your records.</p> <h3>5. Go to Your Local DMV to Report Your Missing Driver&rsquo;s License</h3> <p>Everyone I know keeps their driver&rsquo;s license in their wallet or purse, and it&rsquo;s something that can be used in identity theft and fraud. So you want to get in touch with your DMV as soon as possible to report the loss. Although you can call, it&rsquo;s much better to have someone drive you there so that they can process your application quicker. They will then follow steps to reissue a license, which varies from state to state. You may be liable for fees as well.</p> <p>The DMV will almost certainly ask you to file a police report, too, which is why step four is so important.</p> <h3>6. If Keys Are Missing, Change the Locks</h3> <p>If your wallet contains a house key, you don&rsquo;t want to risk a break in. Even if the wallet is returned in tact, someone could very easily have copied the key. In fact, it&rsquo;s a known way to rob a house &mdash;&rdquo;lift&rdquo; the wallet or purse, jot down the address from the driver's license, copy the key, then hand it all in to the police.</p> <p>So if you know for certain that house keys went missing with the wallet, change the locks. You can easily do this yourself these days; stores like Home Depot and Lowes have a vast selection of locks. Or choose a reputable locksmith to do it for you.</p> <p>If the car keys went missing, that&rsquo;s not as easy to replace. But your car may also be at risk of being stolen, so contact your local car dealer or garage and ask for their assistance.</p> <h3>7. If Your Social Security Card Is Missing, Inform the Authorities</h3> <p>Most of us know our SSN by heart and have no reason to carry it with us (mine is filed away safely at home). If, however, your SSN card was in your wallet, you need to report that loss immediately. The Social Security Administration will not issue you a new number, just a new card, so calling them won&rsquo;t help with fraud and ID theft. You should take the following steps to reduce your risk of being an ID theft victim:</p> <ol> <li>Call the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490</li> <li>File the loss with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT</li> <li>Report the loss to the <a href="">Internet Crime Complaint Center</a></li> </ol> <h3>8. Try to List Everything Else That Was in the Wallet</h3> <p>There are other items in your wallet that may seem insignificant but could come back to haunt you. These include memberships to movie rental stores, work ID cards and access badges, medical insurance cards, computer passwords, and padlock keys.</p> <h3>9. Order Credit Reports</h3> <p>Every year, you are entitled to a <i>free</i> credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, without any strings attached. The easiest way to obtain these is to visit the <a href="">Annual Credit Report</a> site. Then, take a close look at them to spot any possible fraudulent spending.&nbsp;</p> <h3>10. Replace the Wallet With a New One</h3> <p>New is a relative term. You may have another perfectly good wallet or purse at home, perhaps a gift you haven&rsquo;t had a chance to use yet. Or you may need to run out and buy a new one. You could even make one from <a href="">duct tape</a>. But you need to get your life back on track and fill this new wallet with replacement cards, checks, and all the other important stuff you had in your old wallet. Sure, your old wallet may actually turn up, but you can&rsquo;t hang around waiting for that to happen.</p> <h3>Some Steps You Can Take to Prepare Before You Lose Your Wallet</h3> <p>Hopefully you&rsquo;re reading this article to be informed should the worst happen. But there are steps you can take right now to be prepared. If you do lose your wallet, you&rsquo;ll be in a much better position to protect yourself and get the steps above done more quickly.</p> <p><strong>Strip Your Wallet of Anything You Don&rsquo;t Really Need</strong></p> <p>Is there a reason you&rsquo;re carrying all those credit and debit cards? If you use one 99% of the time, like most people do, then it&rsquo;s not wise to carry the others for those &ldquo;just in case&rdquo; moments. Carry one back up with your main card, and keep the rest at home. The same goes for anything that could help an ID thief, including SSN cards, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and other personal info.</p> <p><strong>Scan or Photocopy Everything That&rsquo;s in Your Wallet</strong></p> <p>I just did this recently, and I should have done it a lot sooner. Everything I keep in my wallet that&rsquo;s important has been scanned into my computer. I keep it in a handy file on my desktop, and I&rsquo;ll be updating it every three to four months. From my driver&rsquo;s license and credit cards to health insurance cards and gift cards, they are all now available at the touch of a button. I also have a PDF of this file stored on my phone (password protected, obviously). If I do lose my wallet, I know instantly what has gone missing and all the numbers to call.</p> <p><strong>Try a &ldquo;Lost Wallet&rdquo; App</strong></p> <p>They do exist, and many of them are free. Just do a search in the marketplace of your smartphone, and you&rsquo;ll find something that works for you. What these apps do is replicate the contents of your wallet, just like above, and then store the information with a secure password. Some apps also have a list of emergency numbers on hand that you can call straight from your cell phone.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//;;description=10%20Things%20You%20Should%20Do%20Immediately%20After%20Losing%20Your%20Wallet" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div style="display: none;"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet" width="212" height="605" /></p> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Increase the Chance of Someone Returning Your Lost Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">‘Tis The Season To Get A Speeding Ticket! Are You Next?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get Your Own Identity! What to do when Yours is Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs credit card cancellation police stolen identity wallet Mon, 30 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 924163 at Get Your Own Identity! What to do when Yours is Stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" theft.JPG" alt="identity theft" title="identity theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="197" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Identity theft is considered an increasing national epidemic, being the fastest growing crime in the nation according to the Federal Trade Commission. And until you discover that somebody else has stolen your identity and take certain corrective measures, your credit, banking, and even your income taxes can be seriously compromised. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Here&#39;s what to do in order to save your identity from further abuse if you discover it is stolen:</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>File a Police Report</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>This should be done immediately, and <strong>get lots of copies of the report</strong>, as you&#39;ll need to distribute it to banks, creditors, credit bureaus, social security admin, and possibly a host of other agencies and services you use and want to save. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>Contact Social Security</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>You&#39;ll want to discover if your social security number has been used fraudulently. Visit them <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>Bank Accounts</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>You&#39;ll need to inform your bank of the identity theft, and likely will have to close your accounts and open new ones. (Copies of the police report readily available will help to expedite this process. Banks are getting pretty good at it by now). Obviously any new accounts opened should have completely different PIN codes and passwords. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Also review your accounts and statements with a fine tooth comb so you can spot and reverse any fraudulent activity. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>Contact Creditors</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Anybody you have ever dealt with in regards to money needs to know about your identity theft. Ask to speak with their security or fraud departments, and proceed to close any accounts you didn&#39;t open, reverse transactions you didn&#39;t make, and (very important), <strong>tell them to provide the corrected information to the credit bureaus</strong>. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>Credit Bureaus</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are three credit agencies: <a href="" target="_blank">Equifax</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Experian</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Transunion</a>. They keep files on your credit situation to which vendors and creditors will report information (some report to one bureau, some to others). By reporting the identity theft to one, the other two will be notified, and all three should send you a free credit report so you can double-check and correct any inaccurate information due to fraud. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The credit agencies also have an alert system that keeps them on their toes and prevents future fraudulent activity: </span></p> <h4><span>Initial Alert</span></h4> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>If you think you are a victim of ID theft or you just became one, request an Initial Alert from whichever credit agency you contact (they should advise the other agencies, but <em>it is always good to confirm this too</em>). </span></p> <p> <span>This will prevent the &quot;other you&quot; from authorizing any additional cards on existing accounts, increase limits, or attain new credit in your name. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h4><span>Extended Alert</span></h4> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>If you are <em>sure</em> that your identity was stolen, an extended alert is recommended. It is much like the initial alert, except it remains in place for seven years. You will also receive two free copies of your credit report over the following year (as opposed to one) to check for an report inaccuracies, and for the next five years it excludes you from lists prepared for creditors to offer you additional credit or insurance. </span></p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h4><span>Active Duty Alert</span></h4> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Similar to the other alerts, this is a special alert system for those on active military duty. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h3><span>Ask for Confirmation Letters</span></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For all of the above reports, changes, and hoops to be navigated, it is imperative that you ask for confirmation letters that the accounts in question are closed, charges removed, and information on file corrected. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For more information, you can visit the FTC <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, or call them on the Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Prevent Identity Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs How-To Guide identity theft stolen identity Wed, 09 Jan 2008 19:56:05 +0000 Nora Dunn 1611 at