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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Avoid Identity Theft ~ Part 2

Be alert to any suspicious activity by keeping a close watch on your financial accounts and billing statements.

1) Be alert to signs that require your immediate attention:
2) Bills that do not arrive as expected
3) Unexpected credit cards or account statements
4) Denials of credit for no reason
5) Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
6) Letters received from debt collectors

You are entitled to a free credit report each year. Get your free copy and inspect the information it contains.
You can go online to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This service was created by the three nationwide credit reporting agencies and you will easily get your free copy.


How To Defend Yourself Against ID Theft

If you suspect Identity Theft you can place a 'fraud alert' on your credit reports. This alert will tell creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or change anything on your existing accounts.

Three nationwide credit agencies are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289


When you place a fraud alert, this also entitles you to free copies of your credit report. Look for inquiries from companies you didn't have contact with, accounts you didn't open and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.

Close any accounts that have been tampered with or you did not open. Call the security or legal department of each company where the account was opened or changed without your knowledge. Follow up in writing

Contact ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statements.

Ask for verification in witting that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.

Keep copies of all documents and records of conversations regarding the theft.

File a police report. The creditors involved may want proof of the crime.

Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. This report helps enforcement officials across the country in their investigations. 1-877-438-4338

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