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Identity Theft

July 20th 2005

FTC Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft What to do story

FTC is lead agency

The Federal Trade commission reports that identity theft has been the number one consumer fraud complaint for five years running, affecting 10 million people each year.  Some states require companies to notify consumers if they lose track of their personal information. 

Recently I was notified by one of my credit card companies that my address was being changed on my Credit Card.  This was a surprise to me.  The new address was located across the country.  The thieves had my social security number and date of birth.  Along with my name, they effectively had my identity. 

Immediately we confirmed charges I made and separated the charges they made.  The credit card company sent me an affidavit to fill out and I sent it back.  On it I swore that I did not make the fraudulent charges.  One of the charges was made to Wal-Mart on-line.  Wal-Mart was a victim here also.

 

A couple days later I found out the thieves bought a cell phone using my identification.  This is important because you need a phone to get credit.  They used that same fraudulent address.  If a thief gets an address on your credit report they can apply for credit.  You may never know this is happening.

Immediately I wondered what I should no next.  The credit card company told me to call the three credit bureaus and register a fraud alert.  I did that.  I called Equifax, Experian (previously TRW) and TransUnion.   This simple alert lasts only 90 days.  You can get an extensive alert that lasts 7 years by writing the Credit Bureaus.  As of now, I have not done that. 

Most experts recommend contacting your local police department and filing a report.  Other experts recommend calling the police where the fraud happened and filing a report with that police department also.  It couldn’t hurt, and may help in future lawsuits against you.

Earlier this year my wife and I signed up for Profile Protect, hoping we would be notified quickly if someone tried to use our identity.  They notified me, but it was a month after I was notified by the credit card company. 

  Order your 3 bureau merged credit report today

Even though they are not quick, these credit protection agencies can help.  I just found out that the fraudulent address was added to my Experian report recently.  I will try to correct this address, but once the reporting agencies get it, it is very difficult to get it removed. 

I have written letters and have gotten some inaccurate information removed from my credit reports.  It is difficult to get everything fixed the first go around, so I recommend you keep trying.  It appears the reporting agencies love data, the more the better even if it is inaccurate. 

Here are the phone numbers to report suspected. The alerts are free.  Esperian  800-509-8495  Transunion 1-800-680-7289 and Equifax  1-800-525-6285.

If you have any stories, suggestions or information please email me at dan@bestsyndication.com.

Related Stories:

Identity Theft Fight


By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

 

Keywords and misspellings:  Xperian experian eqifax equalfax trans union idinity transunion what to do victim victum


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM