Identity Theft  

AzCdKayle 62T
24 posts
6/12/2006 7:29 pm

Last Read:
6/16/2006 4:33 am

Identity Theft

I was watching a special by one of our local stations talking about Identity Theft specially with what happen with the VA, anyway beside what I found and copy and pasted I was someone shock by something I never did, you all those credit card specials and applications you get in the mail, well I always torn them in half or quarters, but never destroyed the special reservation numbers or pre-approval number, well that is one way they can get and apply for the card, by changing your address. Well I am also tried of getting those too, I get in a week at least 3 to 5 of these in the mail. But did you know there is a number you can opt out? Yes, there is one and here it is: 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or you can go to the web site:

How can someone steal my identity?

Despite your best 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.
They get information from businesses or other institutions by:
• stealing records or information while they're on the job
• bribing an employee who has access to these records
• hacking these records
• conning information out of employees
• They may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, new checks, and tax information.
• They may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as "dumpster diving."
• They may get your credit reports by abusing their employer's authorized access to them, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.
• They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as "skimming." They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.
• They may steal your wallet or purse.
• They may complete a "change of address form" to divert your mail to another location.
• They may steal personal information they find in your home.
• They may steal personal information from you through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as "phishing" online, or pretexting by phone.
What are the effects of identity theft?

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they use it in a variety of ways.

• They may call your credit card issuer to change the billing address on your credit card account. The imposter then runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there's a problem.
• They may open new credit card accounts in your name. When they use the credit cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquent accounts are reported on your credit report.
• They may establish phone or wireless service in your name.
• They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
• They may counterfeit checks or credit or debit cards, or authorize electronic transfers in your name, and drain your bank account.
• They may file for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they've incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
• They may buy a car by taking out an auto loan in your name.
• They may get identification such as a driver's license issued with their picture, in your name.
• They may get a job or file fraudulent tax returns in your name.
• They may give your name to the police during an arrest. If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.
Stay alert for other signs of identity theft, like:
• failing to receive bills or other mail. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
• receiving credit cards that you didn't apply for.
• being denied credit, or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high interest rate, for no apparent reason.
• getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn't buy.

What is "pretexting" and what does it have to do with identity theft?

Pretexting is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you. Pretexting is against the law.

Pretexters use a variety of tactics to get your personal information. For example, a pretexter may call, claim he's from a survey firm, and ask you a few questions. When the pretexter has the information he wants, he uses it to call your financial institution. He pretends to be you or someone with authorized access to your account. He might claim that he's forgotten his checkbook and needs information about his account. In this way, the pretexter may be able to obtain personal information about you such as your Social Security number, bank and credit card account numbers, information in your credit report, and the existence and size of your savings and investment portfolios.

Keep in mind that some information about you may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a home, pay your real estate taxes, or have ever filed for bankruptcy. It is not pretexting for another person to collect this kind of information.

By law, it's illegal for anyone to:

• use false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.

• use forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.
• ask another person to get someone else's customer information using false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or using false, fictitious or fraudulent documents or forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents.

How long can the effects of identity theft last?

It's difficult to predict how long the effects of identity theft may linger. That's because it depends on many factors including the type of theft, whether the thief sold or passed your information on to other thieves, whether the thief is caught, and problems related to correcting your credit report.

Victims of identity theft should monitor their credit reports and other financial records for several months after they discover the crime. Victims should review their credit reports once every three months in the first year of the theft, and once a year thereafter. Stay alert for other signs of identity theft.

Don’t delay in correcting your records and contacting all companies that opened fraudulent accounts. The longer the inaccurate information goes uncorrected, the longer it will take to resolve the problem.

Should I use a credit monitoring service?

There are a variety of commercial services that, for a fee, will monitor your credit reports for activity and alert you to changes to your accounts. Prices and services vary widely. Many of the services only monitor one of the three major consumer reporting companies. If you’re considering signing up for a service, make sure you understand what you're getting before you buy. Also check out the company with your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency and state Attorney General to see if they have any complaints on file.


Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:

1. Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
4. Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a “change of address” form.
5. “Old-Fashioned” Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.

To learn more about ID theft and how to deter, detect, and defend against it, visit Or request copies of ID theft resources by writing to:

Consumer Response CenterFederal Trade Commission600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130Washington, DC 20580






Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.

Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.

Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit for more information.
Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.

Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:

Bills that do not arrive as expected
Unexpected credit cards or account statements
Denials of credit for no apparent reason
Calls or letters about purchases you did not make


Your credit report. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.
r The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies–Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion–to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
or Visit or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year. You also can write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Your financial statements. Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly, looking for charges you did not make.
Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it.
Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
r Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
r Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
r TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
r Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
r Use the ID Theft Affidavit at to support your written statement.
r Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
r Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.
r Online:
r By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
r By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

FederalTradeCommission| 600 PennsylvaniaAve., NW Washington, DC 20580 || 1-877-ID-THEFT


LapALotta 55F

6/15/2006 8:26 pm

Good post!! It is important to note that if you put a fraud alert on your credit reports, all three credit reporting bureaus will give you a preliminary report (to see what's there) and one after the period of fraud alert is ended. And that is free. And you can always get your credit report once a year for free. Credit reports are not filed by social, but by name or address. Think about that if you have a common name or are renting.

The VA theft has affected primarily AF personnel, many of whom are active duty. The VA has sent letters to those they believe were compromised.

Become a member to create a blog