Archive for May, 2013

Simple postal form can lead to identity theft

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

An Orlando-area attorney said a week’s worth of his letters, bills and statements could be in the hands of an identity thief.

Fred O’Neal said his mail stopped arriving at his home, and now, the U.S. Postal Service is working to figure out where it ended up.

O’Neal said when he checked his mailbox a week ago, he found a notice from the Postal Service saying mail would no longer be delivered to his office, which is in his home.

He learned that his home of 25 years was declared vacant.

“We have cars in the driveway, lights are on, barking dog,” said O’Neal.

When O’Neal called the post office to assure it he had not moved, he was told someone may have fraudulently filled out a change-of-address form for his mail. He said he was shocked to hear how easily it can be done.

Channel 9’s Nancy Alvarez was told, at a local post office, that a person can walk in and fill out the form without showing any identification.

The change can also be made online. According to records, about 13 million people use online form every year.

O’Neal said when he asked where his mail was forwarded to, he was told the form couldn’t be found.

In a statement, a Postal Service representative said, “With about 44 million customers, the Postal Service makes every effort to prevent identity fraud and to protect the mail and privacy of our customers.”

O’Neal doesn’t think they’re doing enough.

“I don’t know what mail went to the bogus address and what mail they’ve opened and what they know about me that they shouldn’t know. (It’s a) little bit unnerving (a) little bit upsetting,” said O’Neal.

The Postal Service also said it sends out two confirmation letters when a change of address form is turned in, but O’Neal said he never received one.

Article source: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/simple-postal-form-can-lead-identity-theft/nX6QF/

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Parents, patients notified of potential identity theft incident

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. ― An employee working at a University of Florida medical practice who had ties to an identity theft ring may have compromised patient personal and health information.

UF is notifying 5,682 patients and parents of patients at the UF Pediatric Primary Care Clinic at Tower Square, now known as UF Health Pediatrics ― Tower Square, that they should take appropriate measures to protect themselves from identity theft. UF is offering fraud resolution services for those who suspect or confirm identity theft associated with this incident; the fraud service offer is good for one year.

“We deeply regret what happened and share the frustration associated with this situation,” said Susan Blair, chief privacy officer for the University of Florida. “Protecting patient information is a top priority for us, and we are committed to finding new ways to identify and help prevent employee misconduct.”

The Office of the State Attorney, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Secret Service are continuing to investigate a statewide identity theft ring. The university learned of the alleged incident from state and federal law enforcement officials on April 11. The employee may have used pediatric patient records to steal personal information including names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. The employee was terminated, and law enforcement is taking action against the individual.

After notification from the Secret Service, UF cooperated with law enforcement and conducted a separate investigation about the use of patient records. This review determined that some patient records were accessed inappropriately. But because the employee also was assigned to access records as part of their job responsibilities, it was not possible to determine whether the information was misused.

“We wanted people to be aware of the situation, so that they will have the opportunity to take additional precautions,” Blair said.

The letters sent to parents and patients include information about the incident, steps they can take to protect themselves, information about identity monitoring services and steps recommended by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about checking credit reports.

To further help prevent misuse of information, those affected may wish to contact the three major credit agencies and notify them that personal information was inappropriately accessed and misused.

For questions, visit http://privacy.ufl.edu/ or call 877-552-1299. This call center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on Saturdays, until June 15.

Credits

Media Contact
Melissa Lutz Blouin , melissa.blouin@ufl.edu, 352-273-5810

Article source: http://news.ufl.edu/2013/05/29/potential-identity-theft-2/

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Florida Retirees Frequent Identity Theft Targets

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

A lot of Floridians are retirees who spend their days around the pool or at the beach. The warmer weather attacks both golden agers and unfortunately identity thieves. Criminals know that retirees have money in the bank, retirement accounts and credit cards with high limits.

TechNewsDaily reports, “On a per capita basis, 361 Floridians out of every 100,000 were the victims of identity fraud in 2012, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s latest figures. Georgia ranked second, with 194 reports per 100,000, and California ranked No. 3 at 123 per 100,000—a third the rate of victims in Florida.”

Two types of identity theft often affect retirees: new account fraud and account takeover.

New account fraud refers to financial identity theft in which the victim’s personal identifying information, often a Social Security number and good credit standing, is used to create new accounts, which are then used to obtain products and services. Stolen Social Security numbers are often used to commit new account fraud.

Since the thief typically submits a different mailing address when applying for new accounts, the victim never receives the bills and may remain unaware of their existence until creditors come seeking payment for debts the thief has accumulated in the victim’s name.

Account takeover is discovered when victims notice suspicious charges on a credit card statement, or the credit card company may notice charges that seem unusual in the context of the victim’s established spending habits. Protecting yourself from account takeover is relatively easy. Simply pay attention to your statements every month and refute unauthorized charges immediately. I check my charges online once every two weeks.

Protecting yourself from new account fraud requires more effort than account takeover. You can attempt to protect your own identity by getting yourself a credit freeze or setting up your own fraud alerts. There are pros and cons to each.

One cool company that’s watching your back is iovation. iovation spots cyber criminals by analyzing the device reputation of the computers they use to connect to a website. They investigate for suspicious history and check for characteristics consistent with fraudulent users. And the best part is that iovation can prevent a criminal from using stolen data to open a new account in the first place—saving your nest egg for your golden years.

 


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Article source: http://www.bloggernews.net/129439

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Platinum Tax Defenders Comments on IRS Efforts to Crack Down on Tax Return …

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
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Platinum Tax Defenders offers tax relief and back tax help

Platinum Tax Defenders Reminds Taxpayers To Research Tax Liability and Eligibility for Tax Credits

Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) May 28, 2013

According to USA Today, the IRS has investigated almost 1,500 cases of identity theft that made it past their security measures since October 2011 (forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2013/01/29/irs-tips-wont-protect-you-from-identity-theft-tax-fraud/). According to the IRS, $20 billion of attempted identity theft via tax return has been repelled since fiscal year-end 2012, so that’s not a bad rate of exchange. Or is it? For those struggling with issues of back taxes or with current Offers in Compromise, Platinum Tax Defenders encourages taxpayers to double-check all returns sent to the IRS, and suggests that it may be worthwhile to look into getting help via tax resolution services, since identity theft issues can cause delays or unwelcome confusion during complicated interactions with the IRS.

The IRS also says that there has been significant progress in collaboration efforts with law enforcement officials, and efforts to stem the tsunami of identity theft cases. The Identity Protection PIN program has been implemented to keep prior victims of identity theft from experiencing the same issues and losses, but the sheer number of prior cases issued to victims (770,000) is staggering.

As of October 2012, over 650 criminal cases have been opened. Those convicted with identity theft may spend between four to 20 years behind bars. In fact, an April 2012 pilot program begun in Florida was successful enough to warrant the inclusion of an additional 8 states, and seems to have gotten results. As of January 2013, the IRS began with over 730 actions and ended in a 40% arrest and indictment rate (298).

However, in 2012, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) went on record with Congress to say that the IRS takes too long to resolve identity theft cases, that victims are subject to a long and complicated process that is unhelpful. The official title of the May 2012 report was “Most Taxpayers Whose Identities Have Been Stolen to Commit Refund Fraud Do Not Receive Quality Customer Service”(treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2012reports/201240050_oa_highlights.pdf). IRS guidelines and procedures for identity theft cases are scattered throughout 38 sections of the internal manual, and victims are often forced to wade through a paper trail for resolution, which can take up to a year. USA Today seems to indicate that cases like Angela Beasley’s are not unusual, in which she sent in a police report and an affidavit, and still could not finalize education plans because the thief was still registered in her name.

Beyond taking the normal precautions of shredding former-year tax returns and refusing to give out your Social Security number (except when necessary), USA Today suggests not engaging in personal banking or sensitive transactions while on a smart phone in public. However, by the time identity theft reaches a tax return, damage has already been done. The same report reported a $200 million haul by an underground ring of credit card thieves, that lasted over the course of years. Security measures weren’t enough to stop over $20 billion being stolen from over 12 million Americans, per a Javelin Strategy report, or one person victimized every 3 seconds – nearly 6% of all American adults.

Even though law enforcement officials are cooperating with the IRS nation-wide (1,560 waiver requests have come in to the IRS already), and the IRS says it has closed over 200,000 cases this year, more cases replacing those that are closed. Platinum Tax Defenders encourages cooperation with the IRS, for those who have become identity theft victims, but also suggests that another layer of protection may not hurt. Obtaining help from a tax relief service or a tax resolution firm may especially be helpful in speeding up the resolution process, if the firm has a skilled tax attorney on hand. Back tax issues can be especially complicated, and the IRS can cancel a payment plan or Offer in Compromise if steps aren’t met quickly enough, or paperwork falls through the cracks. Delays and cancellations for back taxes can make a great difference in payment resolution, and penalties.

Platinum Tax Defenders has a dedicated team of 10 professionals (including tax attorneys, CPA’s and former IRS agents) with a ten-year track record of stopping bank levies and removing tax liens. Most initial consultations range from 20 to 45 minutes, in which a qualified tax resolution professional can examine the specifics of the situation and offer strategies for dealing with the IRS.

For more information from Platinum Tax Defenders on stopping property seizure and getting help with back taxes, call 1-877-668-1807 or send an email to info(at)tax-resolution(dot)me.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/Platinum-tax-defenders/sherri-gastelum/prweb10778022.htm

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Keep Your Identity: Don’t find out your identity has been stolen years after …

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Anyone think identity theft is a passing fad? The last two years more than 23 million people have been impacted by identity theft. And that number increased by approximately 1 million from 2011 to 2012.

Are you one of these unfortunate individuals? Are you sure? How would you know? Do you have a reputable identity theft company monitoring your identity for both credit and non-credit activity?

You take care of your home, auto, personal valuable items and your health, but if you do not have a reputable identity theft company monitoring your credit and non-credit activity, you are leaving your good name and reputation at risk.

Many people say they have been impacted by identity theft, that someone obtained their credit card and used it to obtain a variety of merchandise before it was detected as stolen. They say “what’s the big deal, the bank just issued me a new credit card, and I wasn’t responsible for the charges.”

And that person was correct, in the big time game of identity theft, that is not a big deal, at least not for you personally. But in reality we all pay for identity theft, as that credit card company or the merchant did absorb the loss, and those extra costs just get passed on to us as consumers in the rates and fees we pay. Many people think credit card number theft is the only or primary type of identity theft, and they could not be more incorrect about that assumption.

Much more prevalent, and dangerous to you, is when your personal identifiers are stolen; your Social Security number, birth date, passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate. This information represents who you are. As a comparison, how many bank account, credit or debit card numbers have you had or will you have in your lifetime? Twenty, 40 or more? Your account numbers are not who you are. How many Social Security numbers, birth dates, birth certificates, passports and drivers’ licenses will you have? But this information, your personal identifiers, represents who you are, not your credit card numbers.

You might then logically conclude that your personal identifiers have not been stolen or you would have been notified, right? After all, when your credit or debit card is used by someone else, you are notified right away by the credit card company.

Question: Who do you think is going to notify you if your Social Security number is stolen? There is a big difference in notification, and we could call it many things, but let’s just call it “skin in the game.” As we said above, the credit card company in most cases is responsible for the fraudulent charges you did not authorize. They are on top of fraudulent activity, and have invested an enormous amount of money in fraud detection programs. They have “skin in the game” to protect.

So, I ask you again, who do you think is looking out for you when your Social Security is used by someone other than you? Anyone have skin in the game in this situation, other than you? Anyone have skin in the game in this example besides you? It’s real simple. You are on your own in detecting fraudulent activity against your personal identifiers. It might be years before you find out that someone is using your identity to conduct their lives, many times committing crimes you will be accused of someday. Don’t be lulled to think that because you haven’t been notified, your personal identifiers have not been stolen and are not being used by someone else, maybe for several months or even years without your knowledge. And it can take months or even years to straighten out. Not an easy task or one you want to take on by yourself.

– – –

Skip Soper, a former long time Naples banker, is a regional distributor for iSekurity, a national identity theft firm. iSekurity provides monitoring, internet surveillance and full restoration services to its clients and employs former federal agents to identify the criminals, restore your identity and prepare a case for possible prosecution. Contact him at (239) 784-5059 or at skip.soper@isekurity.biz.

Article source: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/may/28/keep-your-identity-dont-find-out-your-identity/

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Shopper’s tip leads police to bust suspected out-of-state ID theft ring

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

An alert shopper’s tip that she had just seen what she suspected was identity fraud at a Bensalem store led police to arrest four out-of-state residents on a variety of charges.


The customer reported seeing three people have their credit cards rejected at the Kohl’s store in the 2300 block of Street Road shortly before noon Sunday. The tipster described the man and two women to police and said they were overheard saying they were from Indiana; she also described the red Cadillac they got into in the parking lot.

When police approached the car in the shopping center parking lot and asked its occupants for identification, the driver and three passengers had plenty of names to choose from, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The driver, later identified as Aaron Moultrie, 41, of Oakland, Calif., had a California driver’s license in the name of Daniel Jong Kim. The three passengers were identified as Ferris Stafford, 24, of Oakland, Calif., Shynice Collins, 20, of Kokomo, Ind., and Danielle Smith, 31, of Indianapolis.

When police asked them what they were doing in Bensalem, they were “very vague and deceptive,” police said.

While police were checking the IDs, a Kohl’s security guard told the officers that surveillance video showed Stafford apparently jamming something beneath her car seat as she got into the vehicle, according to police. When questioned, Stafford became irate and argumentative and denied concealing anything, police said.

A police officer found a purple wallet containing another Indiana driver’s license under the name Lucinia Poge, as well as a Sam’s Club card and checkbook with 18 checks in that name, as well as five checks in the name of Marcus Ogden, according to the affidavit.

Stafford denied the wallet was hers and claimed she didn’t know anyone named Poge, police said. Stafford also had a Kohl’s receipt for $166.75 worth of items she paid for using a check in Lucinia Poge’s name, police said.

Police said they found numerous gift cards in the Cadillac as well as a cookie tin behind the driver’s seat containing razor blades, glue, and strips of paper with numbers written on them to be used to alter identification cards, according to the affidavit.

Police found a small, clear baggie containing white powder that Collins claimed was crushed Tylenol pills, but when it was tested, the powder came back positive for cocaine, police said.

Collins had 14 checks under the name Alicia Allen and a ripped check in her jeans pocket dated for Sunday for $180.19 made out to Staples and signed Alicia Allen, police said. Smith had 13 fraudulent checks in her purse.

Moultrie, who insisted his name was Daniel Kim, had a debit card in the name of Rebecca Oreski and a credit card in the name of Mary Lowe, police said.

“As Moultrie was about to be fingerprinted, he stated that he was going to stop playing with us and provide us his true identity,” according to court documents.

Police learned Moultrie was wanted on warrants in California and Washington, police said.

The four were arrested and arraigned Sunday before Middletown District Judge John Kelly Jr. on multiple counts of identity theft, conspiracy, access device crimes and related offenses. Collins, Stafford and Moultrie were sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $75,000 bail and Smith was sent to prison in lieu of 10 percent of $40,000 bail.

Article source: http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/courier_times_news/shopper-s-tip-leads-police-to-bust-suspected-out-of/article_9d109c70-1ddb-512e-b1f6-2381b38706e3.html

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Anita Peca: Recovering from Identity Theft

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

You’ve read about it, and you thought it would never happen to you. But suddenly your bank account is empty, your credit card bills are through the roof and you’re getting late notices for accounts you don’t own.

Anita Peca

Your identity has been stolen. What now?

Time Is Money

To minimize your losses, act fast. Contact, in this order:

» Your credit card companies

» Your bank

» The three major credit bureaus

» Local, state or federal law enforcement authorities

Your Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies are getting better at detecting fraud; in many cases, if they spot activity outside the mainstream of your normal card usage, they’ll call you to confirm that you made the charges. But the responsibility to notify them of lost or stolen cards is still yours.

If you do so in a reasonable time (within 30 days after you discover the loss), you won’t be responsible for more than $50 per card in fraudulent charges. Ask that the accounts be closed at your request, and open new accounts with password protection.

If an identity thief opens new accounts in your name, you’ll need to prove it wasn’t you who opened them. Ask the creditors for copies of application forms or other transaction records to verify that the signature on them isn’t yours.

Follow up your initial creditor contacts with letters indicating the date you reported the loss or theft. Watch your subsequent monthly statements from the creditor; if any fraudulent charges appear, contest them in writing.

Your Bank

If your debit (ATM) card is lost or stolen, you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized withdrawals if you report the loss before it’s used. Otherwise, the extent of your liability depends on how quickly you report the loss.

» If you report the loss within two business days after you notice the card is missing, you’ll be held liable for up to $50 of unauthorized withdrawals. (If the card doubles as a credit card, you may not be protected by this limit.)

» If you fail to report the loss within two days after you notice the card is missing, you can be held responsible for up to $500 in unauthorized withdrawals.

» If you fail to report an unauthorized transfer or withdrawal that’s posted on your bank statement within 60 days after the statement is mailed to you, you risk unlimited loss.

If your checkbook is lost or stolen, stop payment on any outstanding checks, then close the account and open a new one. Dispute any fraudulent checks accepted by merchants in order to prevent collection activity against you. And notify the check-guarantee bureaus: Certegy (FIS), www.certegy.com; ChexSystems, www.chexhelp.com; NPC, www.npc.net; SCAN, www.nobouncedchecks.com; and TeleCheck, www.telecheck.com.

The Three Major Credit Bureaus

If your credit cards have been lost or stolen, call the fraud number of any one of the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, 888.766.0008; Experian, 888.397.3742; and TransUnion, 800.680.7289.

You need to contact only one of the three; the one you call is required to contact the other two. Next, place a fraud alert on your credit report. If your credit cards have been lost or stolen, and you think you may be victimized by identity theft, you may place an initial fraud alert on your report. If you become a victim of identity theft (an existing account is used fraudulently or the thief opens new credit in your name), you may place an extended fraud alert on your credit report once you file a report with a law enforcement agency.

Once a fraud alert has been placed on your credit report, any user of your report is required to verify your identity before extending any existing credit or issuing new credit in your name. For extended fraud alerts, this verification process must include contacting you personally by telephone at a number you provide for that purpose.

Most states now allow you to “freeze” your credit report. (In the few that don’t, the credit bureaus allow state residents to freeze their reports voluntarily.) Once you freeze your report, no one—creditors, insurers, and even potential employers—will be allowed access to your credit report unless you “thaw” it for them.

To freeze your credit report, you must contact all three major credit reporting agencies. In many cases, victims of identity theft are not charged a fee to freeze and/or thaw their credit reports, but the laws vary from state to state. Contact the office of the attorney general in your state for more information.

If you discover fraudulent transactions on your credit reports, contest them through the credit bureaus. Do so in writing, and provide a copy of the identity theft report you file. You should also contest the fraudulent transaction in the same fashion with the merchant, bank, or creditor who reported the information to the credit bureau. Both the credit bureaus and those who provide information to them are responsible for correcting fraudulent information on your credit report, and for taking pains to assure that it doesn’t resurface there.

Law Enforcement Agencies

While the police may not catch the person who stole your identity, you should file a report about the theft with a federal, state or local law enforcement agency. Once you’ve filed the report, get a copy of it; you’ll need it in order to file an extended fraud alert with the credit bureaus. You may also need to provide it to banks or creditors before they’ll forgive any unauthorized transactions.

When you file the report, give the law enforcement officer as much information about the crime as possible: the date and location of the loss or theft, information about any existing accounts that have
been compromised, and/or information about any new credit accounts that have been opened fraudulently.

Write down the name and contact information of the investigator who took your report, and give it to creditors, banks, or credit bureaus that may need to verify your case.

If the theft of your identity involved any mail tampering (such as stealing credit card offers or statements from your mailbox, or filing a fraudulent change of address form), notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. If your driver’s license has been used to pass bad checks or perpetrate other forms of fraud, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. If you lose your passport, contact the U.S. Department of State.

Finally, if your Social Security card is lost or stolen, notify the Social Security Administration.

Follow Through

Once resolved, most instances of identity theft stay resolved. But stay alert: Monitor your credit reports regularly, check your monthly statements for any unauthorized activity and be on the lookout for other signs (such as missing mail and debt collection activity) that someone is pretending to be you.

[For information purposes only. This information is not intended as tax, financial or investment advice for any particular individiual. The ideas and services mentioned may not be suitable for you and your particular situation If you have any questions, please discuss with your tax or financial advisor. Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions Inc. Copyright 2012.]

— Anita Peca, CPA, PFS, represents Walpole Co LLP, 70 Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta. Click here for more information, call 805.569.9864 x127 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Article source: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/052813_anita_peca_recovering_from_identity_theft/

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TFCU’s Shredding Day Helps Long Island Families Guard Against ID Theft

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
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Hauppauge, NY (PRWEB) May 28, 2013

In an effort to help members and community residents fight identity theft, Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU), one of the country’s largest credit unions, held a Shredding Day at its Hauppauge headquarters. The free waste recycling/destruction and paper shredding day attracted over 350 cars, collecting and disposing a total of 10,195 pounds of paper and 5,338 pounds of electronic waste. In addition, the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County collected canned goods for their Food for Friends drive and sold over 100 boxes of cookies.

The paper shredding was done on site by Cintas Document Management; and the electronic materials, including obsolete computers, old hard drives, monitors, printers, cell phones, scanners and radios, were placed in containers for off-site secure destruction by e-Scrap Destruction.

“TFCU’s Shredding Day was originally planned to help reduce identity theft and fraud but has evolved into an environmental and consumer awareness program that reflects TFCU’s commitment to our members and to all Long Islanders,” said Robert G. Allen, TFCU president/CEO.

Over the past few years, TFCU has sponsored twelve shredding days in various locations across Long Island and has collected a total of 112,849 pounds of paper and 73,101 pounds of electronics.

###

About TFCU:

Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU), one of the country’s largest credit unions, is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution. TFCU was founded on Long Island in 1952 and now has over $4.7 billion in total assets, serves more than 227,000 members and has 23 full-service branches throughout Suffolk County including: Amityville, Bay Shore, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Central Islip, Commack, East Northport, Entenmann’s, Farmingville, Hauppauge, Holbrook, Huntington, Nesconset, North Babylon, Oakdale, Port Jefferson Station, Riverhead, Rocky Point, Selden, Shirley, Smithtown, South Setauket, and Stony Brook University (2). Members also have access to services at more than 5,000 shared service centers located across the country. TFCU offers financial services to all people and businesses located in Nassau and Suffolk counties (excluding the townships of Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island). More information is available about TFCU by visiting http://www.teachersfcu.org or by calling (631) 698-7000.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10760910.htm

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Preventing identity theft after a person dies

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

There are ways to protect the identities of your departed loved ones.

It’s sad and devastating to a family when someone passes away.  It’s beyond frustrating when family members and friends have to deal with repairing damage done by an identity thief who has stolen their loved one’s financial information to drain assets from the deceased’s estate.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a consumer alert that gives an example of how identity theft can happen. In Louisiana, three people were recently arrested for stealing the identities of more than 100 deceased individuals. One of the alleged perpetrators worked in a hospital emergency room and sent text messages containing the personal identifying information of dying patients to her adult son. 

The son and his wife would then apply for credit cards using the deceased’s personal information. The alleged perpetrators would also read patients’ obituaries and use the hospital’s database to gain access to personal information. Recently deceased people were targeted because their financial institutions and other important entities do not immediately received notification upon their passing.

Michigan State University Extension suggests using the following tips compiled by the Identify Theft Resource Center and AARP to help prevent the theft of a deceased individual’s information.  These steps may not be the same for each financial institution or government agency so it’s important to accurately follow the procedures they outline for you. 

  1. Limit the amount of information placed in obituaries.    
  2. Obtain at least 12 copies of the official death certificate when it becomes available.   
  3. Immediately notify all credit card companies, banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions with whom the deceased held accounts. When closing accounts be sure the financial institution indicates “Closed:  Account Holder is Deceased.”
  4. Immediately contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies in writing, certified mail, return receipt requested, to place a “deceased” alert on the individual’s credit report. 
  5. Immediately notify the Social Security Administration of the individual’s death.  To report a death to the Social Security Administration, call 1-800-772-1213.  
  6. Notify the Michigan Secretary of State of the individual’s death.  Take a copy of the death certificate and the deceased’s driver’s license to your local Secretary of State’s office.   
  7. If you have legal permission to do so, Monitor the deceased individual’s credit reports regularly to make sure no fraudulent activity appears.  If any fraudulent activity appears, notify creditors immediately, first by phone, then follow up in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested.   

For more information you may call the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) at 1-877-ID-Theft, or visit the FTC’s identity theft website. You can also contact the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division:

Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388

Article source: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/preventing_identity_theft_after_a_person_dies

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Woman steals thousands in identity theft case

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

PHOENIX — Police are searching for a woman who obtained thousands of dollars by assuming the identity of another person.

The suspect went to the Wells Fargo Bank at 1225 W. Guadalupe Rd. on Feb. 19 and used a stolen California driver’s license to access the victim’s bank account. The suspect did the same thing at the Wells Fargo Bank at 5840 W. Thomas Rd. on Feb. 20.

In total, the suspect obtained $12,100 from the victim’s account.

On Feb. 21, the suspect opened a credit account at the Nordstrom’s at 7014 E. Camelback Rd. and charged over $4,000 worth of merchandise.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS.

Article source: http://ktar.com/22/1637411/Woman-steals-thousands-in-identity-theft-case

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