Three Articles on Identity Theft

Types of Identity Theft (
Identity theft can enter into many areas of our lives. It involves any instance where a person uses someone else's identification documents or other identifiers in order to impersonate that person for whatever reason. According to a eptem!er "##$ survey conducted !y the %ederal &rade 'ommission( an estimated )# million people in the *nited tates found out they were victims of identity theft in the previous year. +ore appropriately titled identity fraud( your identity might !e stolen in order for someone to commit: • Financial fraud - &his type of identity theft includes !ank fraud( credit card fraud( computer and telecommunications fraud( social program fraud( ta, refund fraud( mail fraud( and several more. In fact( a total of "- types of financial identity fraud are investigated !y the *nited tates ecret ervice. .hile financial identity theft is the most prevalent (of the appro,imate )#(### financial crime arrests that ecret ervice agents made in )//0( /1 percent involved identity theft)( it certainly isn't the only type. 2ther types of identity theft( however( usually involve a financial element as well -- typically to fund some sort of criminal enterprise. • Criminal activities - &his type of identity fraud involves taking on someone else's identity in order to commit a crime( enter a country( get special permits( hide one's own identity( or commit acts of terrorism. &hese criminal activities can include:  Computer and cyber crimes  Organized crime  Drug trafficking  Alien smuggling  Money laundering

Are ou a !ictim of Identity Theft" #http$%%&&&'fightidentitytheft'com%identity(theft(learn'html) *ave you had something like this happen" • • • • 3ou get a phone call or letter telling you that you have !een approved or denied credit for accounts that you never re4uested. 3ou no longer receive your credit card statements( or you notice that some of your mail seems to !e missing. 3our credit card statement includes charges for things you know you never !ought. A collection agency tells you they are collecting for an account you never opened.

If you notice anything like this( it's possi!le you've !ecome a victim of identity theft. 5ut what if nothing is o!viously wrong6 7ow can you !e sure you're not a victim6

' has access to free credit reports from &&&'annualcreditreport'com' I. cable and utility accounts. I m still trying to clear up e!erything and "ust recei!ed my income tax refund after waiting four to fi!e months.ot a !ictim' Check our Credit /eport . %uly &. and a cell phone account in my name.TIT T*3FT OCC4/. I first was notified that someone had used my Social Security number for their taxes in February 2004.perience as they navigate the process of rescuing their identity. 7umiliation( anger( and frustration are among the feelings victims e.T/OD4CTIO.htm9Introduction) In the course of a !usy day( you may write a check at the grocery store( charge tickets to a !all game( rent a car( mail your ta. *O0 ID3. .gov/!cp/conline/pu!s/credit/idtheft. Identity theft is a serious crime. It descri!es what steps to take( your legal rights( how to handle specific pro!lems you may encounter on the way to clearing your name( and what to watch for in the future. *o& identity thieves get your personal information$ • o o o o • &hey get information from !usinesses or other institutions !y: stealing records or information while they're on the .eptember 51 67781 everyone in the 4'.ftc. returns( change service providers for your cell phone( or apply for a credit card. #rying to work and get all this cleared up is !ery stressful.&he %ederal &rade 'ommission says that the average victim of identity theft is unaware of the pro!lem for )" months. information.o& Available for 3very /egion of the 4'. 'hances are you don't give these everyday transactions a second thought. (http://www.o! !ri!ing an employee who has access to these records hacking these records conning information out of employees &hey may steal your mail( including !ank and credit card statements( credit card offers( new checks( and ta.' As of .ure ou-re . :eople whose identities have !een stolen can spend months or years and thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of a good name and credit record.8 0hen anyone applies for credit in your name1 it &ill sho& up in your credit report' ou 2ust need to figure out &here to get your credit report and ho& often to get it' Free Credit /eports are . (see the %&' report) 3ou don't want to let )" months go !y !efore finding that you're a victim. 5ut an identity thief does. . 2004 =espite your !est efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself( skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data. &he %ederal &rade 'ommision says 82ne of the !est ways to catch identity theft is to regularly check your credit record. From a consumer s complaint to the F#$. +e . I also found out that this person opened a checking account.o! opportunities( !e refused loans for education( housing( or cars( and even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit. In the meantime( victims of identity theft may lose .orking with other government agencies and organi<ations( the %ederal &rade 'ommission (%&') has produced this !ooklet to help you remedy the effects of an identity theft.

An alert can help stop someone from opening new credit accounts in your name. &hey may give your name to the police during an arrest. ee consumer reporting company contact information. . If they don't show up for their court date( a warrant for arrest is issued in your name. &hey may esta!lish phone or wireless service in your name. &hey may steal your credit or de!it card num!ers !y capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as 8skimming.8 &hey may get your credit reports !y a!using their employer's authori<ed access to them( or !y posing as a landlord( employer( or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.ample( if your purse or wallet was stolen or your house or car was !roken into report it to the police immediately. &hey may open a !ank account in your name and write !ad checks on that account. %or more information a!out fraud alerts( see the %raud Alerts !o. Avoid using your mother's maiden name( your !irth date( the last four digits of your ocial ecurity num!er ( >) or your phone num!er( or a series of consecutive num!ers. =river's license/other government-issued identification: 'ontact the agency that issued the license or other identification document. If your information has !een misused( file a report a!out the theft with the police( and file a complaint with the %ederal &rade 'ommission( as well. &hey may !uy a car !y taking out an auto loan in your name. &hey may steal your wallet or purse. returns in your name. &hey may get a . &hey may counterfeit checks or credit or de!it cards( or authori<e electronic transfers in your name( and drain your !ank account.hen they use the credit cards and don't pay the !ills( the delin4uent accounts are reported on your credit report. &hey may steal personal information from you through email or phone !y posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a pro!lem with your account. ee &A3I>? A@AB&.hen you open new accounts( place passwords on them. &hey may file for !ankruptcy under your name to avoid paying de!ts they've incurred under your name( or to avoid eviction. %ollow its procedures to cancel the document and to get a replacement. &he imposter then runs up charges on your account. If another crime was committed for e.o! or file fraudulent ta. ocial ecurity num!er: 'all the toll-free fraud num!er of any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies and place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. &hey may get identification such as a driver's license issued with their picture( in your name.8 &hey may swipe your card for an actual purchase( or attach the device to an A&+ machine where you may enter or swipe your card. %inancial accounts: 'lose accounts( like credit cards and !ank accounts( immediately. 2nce you've taken these precautions( watch for signs that your information is !eing misused. &hey may complete a 8change of address form8 to divert your mail to another location. Ask the agency to flag your file so that no one else can get a license or any other identification document from them in your name.tolen If you've lost personal information or identification( or if it has !een stolen from you( taking certain steps 4uickly can minimi<e the potential for identity theft.. &hey may open new credit card accounts in your name. &hey may steal personal information they find in your home. &his practice is known as 8phishing8 online( or prete. .• • • • • • • &hey may rummage through your trash( the trash of !usinesses( or pu!lic trash dumps in a practice known as 8dumpster diving. *o& identity thieves use your personal information$ • • • • • • • • • • &hey may call your credit card issuer to change the !illing address on your credit card account. .ting !y phone. If our 9ersonal Information *as +een :ost or . 5ecause your !ills are !eing sent to a different address( it may !e some time !efore you reali<e there's a pro!lem.

2. Fraud Alerts &here are two types of fraud alerts: an initial alert( and an e<tended alert.hen you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report( you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies.hen you place an e. 3.$ IMM3DIAT3 . 5o.comE :. /-$"( Allen( &F 0-#)$ Trans4nion: )-C##-DC#-0"C/E www. 5o. 'heck that information( like your >( address(es)( name or initials( and employers are correct.uifa<: )-C##--"--D"C-E www. 'ontinue to check your credit reports periodically( especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft( to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.TIT T*3FT !ICTIM.T39. Bemem!er to keep all contact information in your alert current. &his may cause some delays if you're trying to o!tain credit. 'ontact the toll-free fraud num!er of any of the three consumer reporting companies !elow to place a fraud alert on your credit report.tended alert placed on your credit report if you've !een a victim of identity theft and you provide the consumer reporting company with an 8identity theft report.comE %raud Gictim Assistance =ivision( :.perian. &o place either of these alerts on your credit report( or to have them removed( you will !e re4uired to provide appropriate proof of your identity: that may include your >( name( address and other personal information re4uested !y the consumer reporting company. &he company you call is re4uired to contact the other two( which will place an alert on their versions of your report( too.plain.comE :. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information( get it removed. 5o.transunion. As part of this verification process( the !usiness may try to contact you directly. 6' Close the accounts that you kno&1 or believe1 have been tampered &ith or opened fraudulently' . In addition( the consumer reporting companies will remove your name from marketing lists for pre-screened credit offers for five years unless you ask them to put your name !ack on the list !efore then.ID3.2. D0/#( %ullerton( 'A /"C$1-D0/# 2nce you place the fraud alert in your file( you're entitled to order free copies of your credit reports( and( if you ask( only the last four digits of your > will appear on your credit reports. .2.tended alert on your credit report( you're entitled to two free credit reports within twelve months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies.2nce you get your credit reports( review them carefully.e4uifa. @ook for in4uiries from companies you haven't contacted( accounts you didn't open( and de!ts on your accounts that you can't e. 01#"1)( Atlanta( ?A $#$01. 5' 9lace a fraud alert on your credit reports1 and revie& your credit reports' %raud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. • • An initial alert stays on your credit report for at least =7 days' 3ou may ask that an initial fraud alert !e placed on your credit report if you suspect you have !een( or are a!out to !e( a victim of identity theft. An e<tended alert stays on your credit report for seven years' 3ou can have an e.#"1) 3<perian: )-CCC-AF:ABIA> ($/0-$01")E www.e. &o compensate for possi!le delays( you may wish to include a cell phone num!er( where you can !e reached easily( in your alert. An initial alert is appropriate if your wallet has !een stolen or if you've !een taken in !y a 8phishing8 scam. If you are a victim of identity theft( take the following four steps as soon as possi!le( and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.hen a !usiness sees the alert on your credit report( they must verify your identity !efore issuing you credit. 3ou only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert.8 .. ee 'orrecting 'redit Beports to learn how. .

%or new unauthori<ed accounts( ask if the company accepts the I= &heft for a list of state Attorneys ?eneral. • >' File a report &ith your local police or the police in the community &here the identity theft took place' &hen( get a copy of the police report or at the very least( the num!er of the report. &his may !e a photocopy of a government-issued I= card( the same type of information the identity thief used to open or access the account( or the type of information the company usually re4uests from applicants or customers( and a police report and a completed affidavit( which may !e the Identity &heft Affidavit or the company's own affidavit. In either case( write to the company at the address given for 8!illing in4uiries(8 >2& the address for sending your payments. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.urisdiction( like your state police. Avoid using easily availa!le information like your mother's maiden name( your !irth date( the last four digits of your > or your phone num!er( or a series of consecutive num!ers. %or e. 3ou also may give permission to any law enforcement agency to get these records( or ask in your written re4uest that a copy of these records !e sent to a particular law enforcement officer. &his letter is your !est proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you are contacted again a!out the fraudulent de!t. If the company already has reported these accounts or de!ts on your credit report( dispute this fraudulent information. 'ompanies must provide these records at no charge to you within $# days of receipt of your re4uest and your supporting documents. 2nce you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company( ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and has discharged the fraudulent de!ts. %ollow up in writing( and include copies (>2& originals) of supporting documents. &hese documents also may contain information a!out the identity thief that is valua!le to law enforcement. Heep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.'all and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. If not( ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms. 9roving ou-re a !ictim Applications or other transaction records related to the theft of your identity may help you prove that you are a victim. end your letters !y certified mail( return receipt re4uested( so you can document what the company received and when. ee 'orrecting 'redit Beports to learn how. 3ou also can check with your state Attorney ?eneral's office to find out if state law re4uires the police to take reports for identity theft. If the company doesn't have special forms( use the sample letter to dispute the fraudulent charges or de!its. ?' File a complaint &ith the Federal Trade Commission' . &he company can ask you for: • proof of your identity. 5y law( companies must give you a copy of the application or other !usiness transaction records relating to your identity theft if you su!mit your re4uest in writing. If the police are reluctant to take your report( ask to file a 8+iscellaneous Incidents8 report( or try another .naag. It s important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing.isting accounts( ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms.ample( you may !e a!le to show that the signature on an application is not yours. If the identity thief has made charges or de!its on your accounts( or on fraudulently opened accounts( ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions: • • %or charges and de!its on e. 'heck the 5lue :ages of your telephone directory for the phone num!er or check www.hen you open new accounts( use new :ersonal Identification >um!ers (:I>s) and passwords. . 5e sure to ask the company representative where you should mail your re4uest.

tended fraud alert on your credit report( you pro!a!ly will have to provide additional information or documentation when you use an automated report. *se certified mail( return receipt re4uested( so you can document what the company or organi<ation received and when. . Tips For Organizing our Case Accurate and complete records will help you to resolve your identity theft case more 4uickly. =on't assume that the person you talk to will give you all the information or help you need. &he %&' can refer victims' complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action( as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.ashington( =' "#-C#. . The Identity Theft /eport An identity theft report may have two parts: 9art One is a copy of a report filed with a local( state( or federal law enforcement agency( like your local police department( your tate Attorney ?eneral( the %5I( the *. &he reason6 It's more difficult for the consumer reporting company or information provider to verify the information. &hey are entitled to take five days to review any information you give them. If you don't have Internet access( call the %&''s Identity &heft 7otline( toll-free: )-C00-I=&7A%& (1$C-1$$C)E &&3: )-CDD-D-$. *se 'hart 3our 'ourse of Action to help you. :ostal Inspection ervice. .rite down the name of everyone you talk to( what he or she tells you( and the date the conversation occurred.consumer. Heep copies of all correspondence or forms you send.ect your identity theft report as incompleteE you will have to resu!mit your identity theft report with the correct information.ect you to criminal prosecution for per. • • • • • 7ave a plan when you contact a company. &he consumer reporting company and information provider then have ). Automated reports may !e su!mitted online( or !y telephone or mail. &here is no federal law re4uiring a federal agency to take a report a!out identity theftE however( some state laws re4uire local police departments to take reports. &hat is( they may ask you to provide information or documentation in addition to that included in the law enforcement report which is reasona!ly intended to verify your identity theft.tended fraud alert on your credit report( the date you su!mit your re4uest to the credit reporting company for information !locking. =on't end the call until you're sure you understand everything you've !een told. %ollow up in writing with all contacts you've made on the phone or in days to work with you to make sure your identity theft report contains everything they need. If you have a choice( do not use an automated report. %or e. *nless you are asking a consumer reporting company to place an e. :repare a list of 4uestions to ask the representative( as well as information a!out your identity theft. Heep the originals of supporting documents( like police reports and letters to and from creditorsE send copies only.( . ecret ervice( the %&'( and the *.hen you file a report( provide as much information as you can a!out the crime( including anything you know a!out the dates of the identity theft( the fraudulent accounts opened and the alleged identity thief. &hey must make their re4uest within ).ample( if you give them information )) days after they re4uest it( they do not have to make a final decision until )D days after they asked you for that information.1"D)E or write: Identity &heft 'learinghouse( %ederal &rade 'ommission( D## :ennsylvania Avenue( >. 3ou can file a complaint online at www.ury.days of receiving your law enforcement report( or( if you already o!tained an e. . 3ou may find that most federal and state agencies( and some local police departments( offer only 8automated8 reports a report that does not re4uire a face-to-face meeting with a law enforcement officer. 9art T&o of an identity theft report depends on the policies of the consumer reporting company and the information provider (the !usiness that sent the information to the consumer reporting company). 5e sure to call the 7otline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or pro!lems.ote: Hnowingly su!mitting false information could su!. .5y sharing your identity theft complaint with the %&'( you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. . If you give them any information after the )--day deadline( they can re. If you need more help( ask to speak to a supervisor.

2nce resolved( most cases stay resolved( !ut pro!lems can crop up. .• • et up a filing system for easy access to your paperwork. Heep old files even if you !elieve your case is closed.

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