Identity theft Protecting your credit identity
Identity Theft • Three hundred forty three million was lost from consumers in 2002 • The number of complaints filed in 2002 was 380,000—almost double from the 204,000 filed in 2001. • Consumers spent 26 billion dollars on line in 2002.
Identity Theft Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses someone’s personal identification, credit or account information
Personal Information Includes • Name • Address and telephone number • Social Security Number • Driver’s license number • Bank Account numbers • Credit Card numbers • Passwords • Bills
Ways Identity Thieves Acquire Information • Wallet/Purse Loss or theft • Mail and Phones • Dumpster diving • Insider access • Internet shopping • Credit report
How information can be used • To get a new driver’s license • Open a new bank account • Apply for credit cards or open new store accounts • Obtain cash from credit cards • To get a job • To rent an apartment • To make retail purchases
Credit reports How theft occurs • Thief fraudulently orders a credit report Prevention • Order credit reports each year • Don’t leave credit reports laying around
Mail How theft occurs • Thief steals account numbers and personal information Prevention • Deposit outgoing mail in mailbox • Don’t leave mail in mailbox • If on vacation, put mail on hold
Wallets and Pocketbooks How it occurs • Thief steals wallet or pocketbook Prevention • Don’t put it in plain sight • Don’t hang it on the back of the chair • Use a purse that closes securely • Carry only what is necessary
Bills How theft occurs • Bills contain personal information, account numbers • May use information to start a new account Prevention • Don’t leave bills laying around • Pay attention to billing cycle
Calling Cards How theft occurs • If thief has calling card and id number, can make long distance calls anywhere Prevention • Use only card that have an id number • Protect from those who are watching over your shoulder
Passwords How theft occurs • Thief watches you or comes across your list Prevention • Don’t give passwords to anyone • Don’t write passwords down • Use different passwords for each account
Work records How theft occurs • Thief may access work records, SS#, bank records Prevention • Ensure work records are locked with security from employees or others
Pre-approved credit cards How theft occurs • Activate accounts from pre-approved cards Prevention • Shred credit card offers • Cut up pre-approved credit cards
Bank Account Information How theft occurs • With bank account routing number, thief can make checks, withdraw money, or access savings Prevention • Don’t leave statements lying around • Use passwords • Don’t have checks mailed. Pick them up.
Social Security Number How theft occurs • This is the key to your identity Prevention • Never give out social security number • Don’t carry social security card • Ask for alternate number
ATM, Credit, Debit Cards How theft occurs • Some locations ask for card and PIN number • Credit and Debit cards are easy to use because most businesses don’t ask for additional ID • Easy to use over internet and phone
ATM, Credit, and Debit Cards Prevention • Don’t leave cards laying around • Only carry those cards you will use • Use debit cards that require a PIN • Write on back of card “Ask for ID” in signature blank • Carry cards in separate holder
Cards, cont. • Have a list of account numbers and cards • Don’t give out numbers unless you are making a purchase • Keep track of all receipts • Destroy papers with account numbers on it • Check statements for fraudulent activity
Immediate steps • Act immediately! • Keep a detailed record of correspondence and phone records. • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request a “fraud alert.” Follow with a letter sent by certified mail. • Close all accounts which have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. • File a police report. • File a complaint with the Federal TradeCommission.
Credit Card Liability • Truth in Lending Act limits liability for unauthorized charges to $50.00 per card. • A letter must be received within 60 days of the first bill containing the error. • The dispute must be resolved within 90 days of the creditor receiving the letter.
ATM, Debit, and Credit Cards • The Electronic Funds Transfer Act limits your liability -Within 2 days, $50 -Within 60 days, $500 -After that you are responsible for whole amount • To report a loss call the financial institution and follow up in writing • Get new bank numbers, PIN, and passwords
Check liability • Contact the financial institution and stop payment. • Notify the check verification service. • Most states hold the financial institution responsible for losses of a forged check
Stay Alert! Be Careful! Be Smart!