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Email Identity Theft (Phishing)


Phishing can be sophisticated or simple. In its simple forms it is not new or novel. It is as simple as the information cards you fill out at displays or information fairs. Take for example the win the free car booth you pass in the mall. In order to “win the car” you fill out a card that lists some of your personal information i.e. your name and address. This is a type of phishing and in this format is legal.

There are more complex forms of phishing that are the state of the art in crime. These are the fake web sites that pose as real web sites for banks and other financial institutions. These sites may be sent to you in an email or pop up on your computer screen when you are attempting to reach the real site. The site directs you to enter your personal information including account numbers. The information is then sent to an identity thief who uses the information to access your account before you know it.

Follow each step to begin the process of clearing your name:

1 Initiate a Fraud Alert

Initiate an Initial Fraud Alert (90-day Fraud Alert) on your credit files by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs). As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two agencies. All three CRAs will place fraud alerts in your credit file. You will then receive a free copy of all of the information in your file from each of the three agencies. You will also receive a notice of your rights as an identity theft victim. An Initial Fraud Alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because creditors are required to call you before extending credit. An Initial Fraud Alert stays in your file for at least 90 days and can be renewed.

You can also ask for an Extended Alert (7-year Fraud Alert), which stays in your credit file for seven years. If you ask for an Extended Alert, you will have to provide a copy of an identity theft report, which is a report you have filed with a federal, state or local law enforcement agency. An Extended Alert entitles you to two additional free credit reports from each CRA in a 12-month period following the placing of the alert.

To place either of these alerts, a CRA will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include copies of your Social Security card, driver’s license, and/or utility bills. You may cancel the fraud alerts at any time.

Experian
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742
www.experian.com

Click here to file an initial fraud alert online 90-Day Fraud Alert

Equifax
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1-800-525-6285
www.equifax.com

Click here to file an initial fraud alert online 90-Day Fraud Alert

Transunion
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
1-800-680-7289
www.transunion.com

The Fair And Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) gives all consumers the right to one free copy of their credit report each year from each of the credit reporting agencies. All three credit reporting agencies have additional information regarding identity theft and the FACTA on their web sites.

You may request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number appear on your credit report. In all communications with the credit reporting agencies, you will want to refer to the unique number assigned to your credit.

2 Identity Theft Report

If you have responded to a Phishing email and provided personal identifying information, be sure to complete the Benefits Fraud complaint item on this web site. Report ID Theft

3 Review Your Credit Report

Check each credit report carefully when you receive it. Look for accounts that you have not opened; charges that you have not made; inquiries that you have not initiated; and default and delinquencies that you have not caused. Check that your name, address, and Social Security number is correct on all reports. File all of the appropriate reports on this web site and follow the step-by-step instructions.

4 Monitor You Credit Report

Order your free credit reports online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Check each credit report carefully when you receive it. Check your credit report regularly. The federal FACTA law enables you to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. These are in addition to the free reports you can order after you place a fraud alert on your credit file.

We recommend that you stagger the receipt of your credit reports, ordering one approximately every four months. Each time, ordering from a different agency. That way you can review your credit report three times each year. If you see possible fraudulent activity on your credit report, file all of the appropriate reports on this web site and follow the step-by-step instructions.

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