Monday, July 27, 2015

Smart Tips for ID Theft Recovery

If you are a victim of ID theft, you will need to get busy. 

Here are some basic steps you will need to get started on.

1. Get started today. Don’t delay. You need to start as soon as you realize that something has happened.

2. You need to keep good records of all the steps you take during this process, so get organized and keep track of all the steps you take and who you contact.

3. You should visit the police and report it so that you will have a police report case number.

4. Go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and file a formal ID theft complaint.

5. Visit the credit reporting agencies and have them place a fraud alert on your account.

6. A fraud alert lasts for 90 days, so you can place an extended fraud alert at the credit reporting agencies if you need to.

7. If your credit report shows any charges or accounts that aren’t yours, you should dispute those errors with each reporting agency.

8. If your issue involves one or more specific businesses, contact them in writing to explain your situation.

9. Any issue that involves the Internal Revenue Service needs to be addressed promptly. Be sure to reply to all IRS contacts.

10. If you are still disputing an issue with a creditor, you can ask the reporting agency to place a block on that issue.

You can read a lot more about this issue by visiting ID Theft Tips at

Nothing on this page should be taken as legal or financial advice.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Has Your Identity Been Tampered With?

How do you know if your identity has been tampered with? 

There are a few different events or signs that should make you wary. 

Some of them include the following:

1. Some of the mail that you regularly get each month suddenly stops showing up in your mailbox.

2. One of your checking or savings accounts shows some unusual activity. 

3. A debt collector contacts you for an issue that you know isn’t yours.

4. Your debit or credit card statement shows an unusual charge that you didn’t make.

5. An insurance company contacts you regarding a claim or issue that you have never heard of before.

6. A state or federal taxing authority, such as the IRS, contacts you about an issue for the first time.

7. The police contact you about something that you weren’t involved with.

8. You receive a confirmation letter or email regarding a change in your account details with that company.

9. A financial organization that you belong to experiences a serious data breach and your personal details may have been compromised.

10. You lost or had a computer or smartphone stolen.

11. You either lost or have your wallet, purse or luggage stolen. 

12. Your credit report shows one or more accounts that you know isn’t yours.

13. You find some serious malware or other virus on your computer. And you think it may have been on it for some time.

14. A medical-related organization or other company you have never done business with sends you a statement.

15. Your home was broken into and some financial and personal documents were taken.

Okay, now just because one of these things have happened to you, it doesn't necessarily prove that someone is messing with your identity, but it definitely means that you need to on your guard, watch out and be careful. 

You can read more about each of these points at the detection page of our website -- or at the federal website of


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fast Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

Having your identity stolen can wreck havoc on your personal credit, take up a lot of your time to fix and can be very frustrating.

The key is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Here are some tips to keeping your ID protected.

1.Visit the three credit report agencies to get your credit report and go through it carefully.

2. Actually read the mail you get from financial institutions.

3. Always read through your monthly bank and other financial statements.

4. When you recycle a computer or smartphone, try to safely destroy any data on the hard drive or memory card.

5. Don’t reuse your Internet passwords at too many sites and make sure you use strong passwords.

6. There is no need to carry your social security card around with you on a daily basis.

7. Find a safe place to keep your important and valuable papers and documents.

8. Visit the Social SecurityAdministration’s website once a year to check the earnings reported to you.

9. Be careful about which websites you visit and what you do on the Web.

10. There is also no need to carry a bunch of extra credit cards in your wallet that you never use.

11. Don’t throw out financial documents without shredding them first. It’s pretty rare that anyone will go through them, but you never know.

12. You can prevent anyone from opening a new account in your name by putting a freeze on your credit file.

13. Most people do not need to know what your social security number is, so don’t give it out unless you feel you need to.

14. When you receive a new or replacement credit card, activate it quickly.

15. Don’t write your debit card PIN down right on your debit card, keep it a secret.

16. Besides your main email, set up another email that you will use just for your important business emails.

17. Make sure that all companies and organizations you do business with have your current email, address and phone number.

18. Install the necessary virus and malware protection software on each of your computers.

19. Use those free public computers, such as the ones in libraries and hotel lobbies, just for casual, non-personal Web activities.

20. Don’t use free, public WI-FI connections when you need to work on private, sensitive internet activities.

21. Be a little careful with the details you put on FaceBook. Don’t make it easy for someone to learn too much about you.

22. Do everything you can do to keep your computer from being stolen.

23. Protect your smartphone from being lost or stolen and remember to keep its software updated.

24. Don’t automatically trust clickable links you get in an email, even if the email looks like it was from a friend.

25. Be careful if you receive a phone call from someone who says they work for the IRS, a bank or other financial institution.  

26. You can decide to quit receiving those unsolicited mails regarding new credit cards if you want to.

27. Try to put your outgoing mail in a spot where nobody could take it.

28. When you order replacement checks, try to pick them up at your bank rather than having them mailed to your home if you worry about your home mailbox situation.

These tips are discussed in more detail at