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Tips and advice for personal finance from the Dolans. This video focus' on how to remedy id theft
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I want to talk to you today about remedy—somebody stealing your identity because it could happen to you. And if you’re reading anything that we do here in dolans.com you know that it happened to the Dolan’s recently. When we received the letter from our bank in the mail saying, “We’ve changed your address from this to this, is that correct?” And of course it wasn’t correct.
So here’s what I did this is a nice handy-dandy little clean way for you to handle it if you think somebody has gotten your identity stolen, a credit card and could be out there to steal your identity whatever. First thing you do, contact the credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You can either do it online at experian.com—you know the whole drill there or by 800 numbers and what you wanted to do is you put in your social security number and you get them to put a credit fraud alert on your credit report which will in some cases depending on the credit bureau gets you off of all of those bogus mailing list that sends you all these applications for things that could end up being used by someone else with your name on it. Get you off those list for six months and it will alert somebody who’s going to check your credit status that there is a block on there and they’ll have to confirm with you before they go forward. So that’s number one.
Now they tell you when you call in you only have to call one, I called all three of them and in our case because there were two people I entered two social security numbers three times for a total of six. It took a while but it was well worth it. That’s what I did first and foremost.
Next what you want to do is if you see something on your credit card bill etcetera then you pick up your credit card, turn it around, get the 800 number and call the company let them know that there is a bogus charge on there and that you’ve already put an alert on your credit report. If it is something as dangerous as it was with us with an actual change of address, contact your local post office to be sure no one has put in a card to change all of your mailing. In our case where it was just this one particular account to be quiet honest we’ve forgotten we had, so therefore you have lines of credited banks that you’ve never used, don’t intend to use close them out. Don’t leave them open there. They like to encourage you in hopes that maybe you’ll get stupid one day and walk in and say, “Gee would you give me $2,000.00 out of this account.” Just close them. So be sure that you do that and check with—I told you to check with the credit card bureaus. In our case where there was an actual address of a new place, I contacted the police and filed a police report.
If it is something, really egregious where there is a big problems happening not just the suspicion that somebody might be trying to use your identity by all means contact the police and file a report. They’ll tell you it isn’t all that important but going forward if some predator tries to come after you, you’ve got to prove that you were joining on the spot when the information was made aware to you. So you file that police report. Keep it. Keep detailed notes of everything that you do and also contact the Federal Trade Commission. You can do it either by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT or online at FTC.gov. They got a whole laundry list of things to do. They will walk you through the process.
I told you about contacting your local post office and document everything and don’t lose that. And might I also add that you get a three month credit alert on your credit report. You may want to keep note of the dates so that when the three months are up you just continue to add that on to there so that you will always have some degree of protection. It’s not full proof but it’s certainly is helpful to you.
One other thing and this I get from a dear friend of ours by the name of John Crudele who is a business writer for the New York Post. It made my hair curl it will do the same to you. You get those little you know freebee pre-approved credit application and you don’t want it. Well hopefully nobody just throws it wholesale in the trash anymore. But, does this right—it makes a few pieces it figures okay I’m safe throws it in the garbage. John Crudele the business writer at the Post ripped up an application from American Express then took it and taped it all back together filled it in, mailed it into American Express and they sent him a card. So he called them up and informed them what they had done. This is how badly they want your credit business. They’ll take ripped up pieces of paper filled out with your name and address on it and send you card. He did it a second time a year later when they did give another pre-approved application form American Express, ripped it up, taped it back up and changed the mailing address on it, got a post office box and he went to that post office box and you guessed it American Express was in that box.
So get a shredder across cut shredder so this could not be done to you, good luck!