Archive for August, 2017

Tips to protect yourself from identity theft

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Six people in Anchorage were charged late last week with 29 counts of bank fraud, identity theft, and other charges related to stealing mail and other personal documents, and then cashing checks and opening bank accounts in others’ names.

This week, Channel 2 talked with the Better Business Bureau about the best way to secure your mail, and your identity, to keep thieves from having easy access to your personal information.

Michelle Tabler, the Alaska Regional Manager for the Better Business Bureau in Alaska, says securing both your incoming and outgoing mail is the best way to safeguard your information, as is making sure to shred all personal documents, not just tearing them apart.

“Still, the Number 1 way for identity theft is still by physical means, which means dumpster diving, and I can guarantee there are people out at the landfill that are going through the trash,” Tabler said. “They go through the dumpsters, they can go through your trash if you’re not home, so it’s not a good idea to throw anything out with personal information. Make sure you shred it first.”

Tabler says even making sure to take labels off your prescription bottles, and shredding the label, will help secure your identity. Anything with your personal information is up for grabs.

When it comes to your mail, Tabler says to make sure you have a secured box, whether it’s getting a P.O. Box or another secured box. She also says to only put outgoing mail like bills in a secured outgoing box.

“In the old days, when you had outgoing mail, you put the red flag up. Well now, that’s a red flag for scammers that you’ve got outgoing mail. And what do you have, you’ve got checks in there, paying bills,” Tabler said.

Other tips Tabler has include the way you format, and order new checks for your checking account. Tabler suggests ordering new checks to be delivered to your workplace, or for pickup at the bank if you don’t have a secure mailbox. And keep the information printed on them limited.

“Just put your first initial and your last name. They won’t know how you sign your first name,” Tabler said, “and that’s all you need because everything else is by the routing number.”

Tabler also suggests limiting the amount of paper documents going through your mail by going to online statements or online bill paying, because that limits the amount of personally-identifying information thieves can access. Even account numbers for your bills could compromise your identity.

“All tax returns, statements, bills, cell phone bills – some people just want to tear it in half and throw it away. It has all your information on it. Just don’t do that,” Tabler said.

When it comes to shredding personal information, the Better Business Bureau is hosting a free shred event on October 14th at the Sears Mall. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tabler says to bring up to three boxes of personal documents to shred.

Article source: http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Tips-to-protect-yourself-from-identity-theft-442150203.html

Technorati Tags: ,

Napa Private School Teacher Arrested on Drug, ID Theft Charges …

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

A private elementary school teacher and former tutor has been arrested on suspicion of possessing suspected heroin and methadone, a powerful pain medication, and committing identity theft, according to the Napa Special Investigations Bureau.

Delicia Gomez, 36, of Napa, was arrested at her Napa apartment Friday, police said.

Detectives learned early this month that Gomez was allegedly selling heroin in Napa, and during a search of her apartment in the 1100 block of Marina Drive on Aug. 12, they found methadone and a California identification card belonging to someone else, police said.

Gomez was not arrested so detectives could continue their investigation, and they learned she was an elementary school teacher at a private religious school in Vallejo and a former tutor at a Napa learning center, police said.

While Gomez was being booked into Napa County Jail, detectives found three baggies containing suspected heroin in her possession.

Gomez was booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, bringing a controlled substance into a corrections facility, identity theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime


  • Download the App

    Available for IOS and Android

SCVNews.com | AG Issues Parents’ Guide to Protecting Kids from …

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

A new guide from the California Attorney General is designed to help parents protect their children under the age of 16 from being the victims of identity theft.

The guide helps parents place a “security freeze” on credit records in their child’s name and is the strongest defense against certain types of identity theft.

Previously available only to California adults, the freeze option is now extended to children under the age of 16 as the result of a law that took effect in 2017.

“As parents and guardians, it is our duty to protect our children. Today that includes safeguarding their personal information from identity thieves,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “A security freeze can shield our children’s identities from being exploited by unscrupulous thieves. We must protect our children from identity theft today, so that it does not drastically disrupt their lives tomorrow.”

“We’ve seen with recent worldwide hacking incidents millions of names, addresses, birth dates, medical information, and Social Security numbers stolen often from the most vulnerable members of our society, including from children and seniors,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks). “Parents now have one more tool to protect their children from identity theft and I’m incredibly thankful the Attorney General is issuing a consumer guide to make this process easier for the residents of California.”

Irwin authored Assembly Bill 1580 (AB 1580), which allows parents or other legal representatives to freeze a child’s credit records with the three major consumer credit reporting agencies. The law took effect early this year.

Last year, the number of identity theft victims reached a record high, leaping to more than 15 million adult victims (6 percent) in the United States. While it is difficult to know the incidence of child identity theft because it goes so long undiscovered, past studies have found that the rate for children is about the same as adults.

The new guide released today outlines steps Californians can take to place a security freeze on behalf of children. The guide, also available in Spanish, explains how the freeze works and provides specific instructions for placing a freeze with the credit bureaus.

Identity thieves seek out children’s untarnished personal records and use their personal information to take out credit and commit other types of fraud. Children’s identities can be exploited for years without notice because the crime is usually not discovered until a child reaches adulthood and pursues an apartment, a career, utilities, or other steps to financial autonomy that require a credit and background check.

Consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft will find resources including an Identity Theft Victim Checklist on the California Attorney General’s website at www.oag.ca.gov/idtheft/information-sheets. They can also file a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company with the California Attorney General’s Office. Victims may also call 800-952-5225 or send a letter to California Department of Justice, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.

Article source: https://scvnews.com/2017/08/28/ag-issues-parents-guide-to-protecting-kids-from-identity-theft/

Technorati Tags: ,

Poughkeepsie man charged with grand larceny, identity theft

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Here are five things you need to know about crime in Dutchess County. Video by Jordan Fenster/Poughkeepsie Journal
Wochit

Article source: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/08/28/poughkeepsie-grand-larceny/609931001/

Technorati Tags: ,

As the New School Year Begins, Attorney General Becerra Issues Guide for Parents to Help Protect Children from …

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

SACRAMENTO August 28, 2017 – As the new school year begins across the State, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a guide to help parents protect their children under the age of 16 from being the victims of identity theft. The guide helps parents place a “security freeze” on credit records in their child’s name and is the strongest defense against certain types of identity theft. Previously available only to California adults, the freeze option is now extended to children under the age of 16 as the result of a law that took effect in 2017.

“As parents and guardians, it is our duty to protect our children. Today that includes safeguarding their personal information from identity thieves,” said Attorney General Becerra. “A security freeze can shield our children’s identities from being exploited by unscrupulous thieves. We must protect our children from identity theft today, so that it does not drastically disrupt their lives tomorrow.”

“We’ve seen with recent world-wide hacking incidents millions of names, addresses, birth dates, medical information, and social-security numbers stolen often from the most vulnerable members of our society, including from children and seniors,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “Parents now have one more tool to protect their children from identity theft and I’m incredibly thankful the Attorney General is issuing a consumer guide to make this process easier for the residents of California.”

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) authored Assembly Bill 1580 (AB 1580), which allows parents or other legal representatives to freeze a child’s credit records with the three major consumer credit reporting agencies. The law took effect early this year.

Last year, the number of identity theft victims reached a record high, leaping to more than 15 million adult victims (6%) in the United States. While it is difficult to know the incidence of child identity theft because it goes so long undiscovered, past studies have found that the rate for children is about the same as adults.

The new guide released today outlines steps Californians can take to place a security freeze on behalf of children. The guide, also available in Spanish, explains how the freeze works and provides specific instructions for placing a freeze with the credit bureaus.

Identity thieves seek out children’s untarnished personal records and use their personal information to take out credit and commit other types of fraud. Children’s identities can be exploited for years without notice because the crime is usually not discovered until a child reaches adulthood and pursues an apartment, a career, utilities, or other steps to financial autonomy that require a credit and background check.

Consumers who believe they are victims of  identity theft will find resources including an Identity Theft Victim Checklist on the California Attorney General’s website at www.oag.ca.gov/idtheft/information-sheets. They can also file a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company with the California Attorney General’s Office. Victims may also call (800) 952-5225 or send a letter to: California Department of Justice, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.

Article source: https://yubanet.com/california/as-the-new-school-year-begins-attorney-general-becerra-issues-guide-for-parents-to-help-protect-children-from-identity-theft/

Technorati Tags: ,

Woman was ringleader of identity-theft ring, police say | HeraldNet …

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

EVERETT — He flew to India for his grandfather’s funeral in November. Back home someone was racking up thousands of dollars in debt using credit cards opened in his name.

In less than a month almost $30,000 was charged to one of six fraudulent credit cards, police said. Strangers bought cars at a tow yard, reserved hotel rooms and shopped for clothes. Unpaid hospital bills and court fines were sent to collections. A credit report later showed that multiple properties had been rented in his name.

The man realized something was wrong when he tried to get a home loan.

He and more than 100 others were targeted in an identity-theft scheme that spanned Snohomish and King counties.

Everett police detective Jamie French said she has never seen an identity theft case to this extent.

French has been following the case since August 2016. Fraud reports were made in Everett, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Bellevue and Seattle. A couple of months into the investigation, French traced back the evidence to two suspects.

Police say Alexia Devlin, 37, is the mastermind behind the scam. She has 25 pending charges for identity theft, possession of stolen property and theft. Prosecutors expect to file additional charges. Devlin’s boyfriend also was arrested in connection to these crimes.

Devlin has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her trial is set for later this year.

Detectives believe Devlin found victims using rental companies, such as Airbnb and Vacation Rental By Owner. She allegedly rented properties using someone else’s ID and then rifled through the houses to steal the property owners’ personal information.

As technology makes it easier to rent homes and purchase items online, French said more cases have been sent to the department’s Financial Crimes Unit.

In 2015, there were 786 reports involving identity theft and embezzlement. So far this year, there have been 416.

The team of three detectives and a sergeant is responsible for those cases.

“For victims, it’s devastating,” French said. “I don’t think suspects realize the impact it has on victims.”

In December, Devlin and her boyfriend rented a home in Everett through VRBO under another person’s name, according to a probable cause affidavit. An office in the house was locked. The computer inside stored client information associated with the homeowner’s business.

Devlin reportedly broke in and stole at least two dozen confidential client files and checks. Those documents, as well as a prescription bottle with the homeowner’s name on it, were later found among Devlin’s possessions, according to court documents.

A couple of clients soon reported suspicious activity on their accounts.

The homeowner’s credit card was used the following month to rent a different house in Mill Creek. Devlin’s boyfriend reportedly pretended to be the man who had visited India last fall. The suspect provided payment over the phone and signed the rental agreement online.

In the early morning of Jan. 24, police searched the home. A pink key, which unlocked a room storing the homeowner’s personal information, was not in its usual kitchen drawer. It was later recovered from Devlin’s purse, according to court papers.

The search recovered laptops, cell phones, fraudulent credit cards and someone’s check book, police said. A hard drive saved photos of counterfeit IDs, paperwork for an inmate’s bond release and an energy bill.

Devlin and her boyfriend were arrested.

The homeowner’s father stopped by the house the next day to clean. He noticed someone had tried to pry the sliding glass door open with a metal rod.

Devlin was still in jail at the time. However, her boyfriend had been released.

The father stumbled upon items that didn’t belong to his daughter, including spiral notebooks that logged names and credit card numbers, according to court papers. His daughter also received threatening text messages, allegedly from Devlin’s boyfriend, demanding his property back.

Many identity theft victims aren’t aware that their personal information had been stolen. Oftentimes, they realize when a loan is denied or they check their credit report.

“It’s a nightmare for them,” French said. “Now they have to convince businesses who they are.”

It typically takes about six months to a year for victims to stop the fraudulent charges, French said. However, there are cases where victims had their identity compromised 20 years later.

French suggested that people remove all personally identifiable information from their homes if they choose to rent the space out.

“It’s not enough to keep it in a locked room,” Everett police Sgt. Matt Mekelburg said.

French said it is a good idea for people to check their credit report a few times a year, even if they don’t suspect they’ve been targeted.

“Identity theft goes on for years,” Mekelburg said. “It’s tens of hundreds of hours tracking down what’s been stolen.”

Caitlin Tompkins:
425-339-3192;
ctompkins@heraldnet.com

Article source: https://www.heraldnet.com/news/woman-was-ringleader-of-identity-theft-ring-police-say/

Technorati Tags: ,

Free mail service can help prevent identity theft – TheIndyChannel …

Monday, August 28th, 2017


You are using an outdated browser. Upgrade your browser today or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site.




<!– layout: {uuid=fcdac0ad-b887-4336-897f-719f1008abfb, plid=282894785, groupId=10959, companyId=10155, createDate=null, modifiedDate=Wed Jun 07 14:47:07 GMT 2017, privateLayout=false, layoutId=381, parentLayoutId=0, name=Story, title=TheIndyChannel.com Indianapolis, IN, description=, keywords=, robots=, type=portlet, typeSettings=last-merge-time=1461614117738
layout-template-id=scripps_responsive_stickySidebar_v2
show-alternate-links=true
last-import-date=1496846826080
last-import-user-name=Alyssa Smith
merge-fail-count=0
sitemap-include=1
layoutUpdateable=true
last-import-user-uuid=61963876-f341-4018-9008-7f187953ca80
default-asset-publisher-portlet-id=101_INSTANCE_XM0T2Fi0tOZj
sitemap-changefreq=daily
column-31=101_INSTANCE_XM0T2Fi0tOZj,56_INSTANCE_UPLzpxULMx1d,56_INSTANCE_kw8khOKNrBs3,56_INSTANCE_VnUpwbsP7HgP,
column-51=56_INSTANCE_16Srxaw1qhZm,56_INSTANCE_TMkvABDP4cu2,
column-42=56_INSTANCE_0OFtSFAvDQCV,
column-41=56_INSTANCE_9HqWeMhVnMfw,56_INSTANCE_RzMe7ZIR5KfK,56_INSTANCE_rfPhXxUIuR3G,
, hidden=true, friendlyURL=/story, iconImage=false, iconImageId=0, themeId=broadcastresponsivebasetheme_WAR_broadcastresponsivebasetheme, colorSchemeId=15, wapThemeId=scrippsbase_WAR_spsbasetheme, wapColorSchemeId=, css=, priority=14, layoutPrototypeUuid=ad2554a7-9189-472c-914c-b56803a053c1, layoutPrototypeLinkEnabled=false, sourcePrototypeLayoutUuid=} –>

Have you ever been waiting for an important piece of mail to arrive, and it never does? You can get frustrated when you realize your mail has been lost or stolen. Now the U.S. Postal Service is launching a new, free mail service to help eliminate that problem. It’s called Informed Delivery, and it allows you to see photos of mail coming to your house before it arrives.

The USPS takes photos of letter-sized mail during scanning and processing at its facilities. Participants who opt into the mail service then receive a daily email with the images of your mail, so you know what to expect that day. You can download an app from Apple or Google (Android) to get the messages sent directly to your smartphone.

Right now the service only includes letter-sized mail. But the USPS may add flat-sized pieces, such as catalogues and magazines, to the list soon.

The free service runs nationwide. However, not every location has it, yet. So search your zip code on the site to see if you can take advantage.

mail photo

Mail service can help prevent identity theft

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your incoming mail, as mail theft often leads to identity theft. In fact, The Federal Trade Commission estimates 400,000 people had their identities stolen last year because of mail theft.

“We tend to find the suspects are looking for checks, things that they can alter or ‘wash’ to convert to their own gain,” postal inspector Mike Carroll told WNCN.

mail photo

In addition to signing up for Informed Delivery, you can protect yourself from mail theft by going to the post office and stopping your mail. If no one plans to be at your home to pick up the mail, consider doing this to prevent a back up in your mailbox.

Also, consider directly mailing your bills and letters. Many people raise the flag on their mailbox for outgoing mail instead of going to the post office. Unfortunately, that flag can also serve as a notice to criminals that potential beneficial mail waits inside. To be on the safe side, take your mail directly to the post office instead.

This story originally appeared on Don’t Waste Your Money. Checkout Don’t Waste Your Money for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.


Print this article
Back to Top


Article source: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/free-mail-service-can-help-prevent-identity-theft_27150950

Technorati Tags: ,

Woman was ringleader of identity-theft ring, police say

Monday, August 28th, 2017

EVERETT — He flew to India for his grandfather’s funeral in November. Back home someone was racking up thousands of dollars in debt using credit cards opened in his name.

In less than a month almost $30,000 was charged to one of six fraudulent credit cards, police said. Strangers bought cars at a tow yard, reserved hotel rooms and shopped for clothes. Unpaid hospital bills and court fines were sent to collections. A credit report later showed that multiple properties had been rented in his name.

The man realized something was wrong when he tried to get a home loan.

He and more than 100 others were targeted in an identity-theft scheme that spanned Snohomish and King counties.

Everett police detective Jamie French said she has never seen an identity theft case to this extent.

French has been following the case since August 2016. Fraud reports were made in Everett, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Bellevue and Seattle. A couple of months into the investigation, French traced back the evidence to two suspects.

Police say Alexia Devlin, 37, is the mastermind behind the scam. She has 25 pending charges for identity theft, possession of stolen property and theft. Prosecutors expect to file additional charges. Devlin’s boyfriend also was arrested in connection to these crimes.

Devlin has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her trial is set for later this year.

Detectives believe Devlin found victims using rental companies, such as Airbnb and Vacation Rental By Owner. She allegedly rented properties using someone else’s ID and then rifled through the houses to steal the property owners’ personal information.

As technology makes it easier to rent homes and purchase items online, French said more cases have been sent to the department’s Financial Crimes Unit.

In 2015, there were 786 reports involving identity theft and embezzlement. So far this year, there have been 416.

The team of three detectives and a sergeant is responsible for those cases.

“For victims, it’s devastating,” French said. “I don’t think suspects realize the impact it has on victims.”

In December, Devlin and her boyfriend rented a home in Everett through VRBO under another person’s name, according to a probable cause affidavit. An office in the house was locked. The computer inside stored client information associated with the homeowner’s business.

Devlin reportedly broke in and stole at least two dozen confidential client files and checks. Those documents, as well as a prescription bottle with the homeowner’s name on it, were later found among Devlin’s possessions, according to court documents.

A couple of clients soon reported suspicious activity on their accounts.

The homeowner’s credit card was used the following month to rent a different house in Mill Creek. Devlin’s boyfriend reportedly pretended to be the man who had visited India last fall. The suspect provided payment over the phone and signed the rental agreement online.

In the early morning of Jan. 24, police searched the home. A pink key, which unlocked a room storing the homeowner’s personal information, was not in its usual kitchen drawer. It was later recovered from Devlin’s purse, according to court papers.

The search recovered laptops, cell phones, fraudulent credit cards and someone’s check book, police said. A hard drive saved photos of counterfeit IDs, paperwork for an inmate’s bond release and an energy bill.

Devlin and her boyfriend were arrested.

The homeowner’s father stopped by the house the next day to clean. He noticed someone had tried to pry the sliding glass door open with a metal rod.

Devlin was still in jail at the time. However, her boyfriend had been released.

The father stumbled upon items that didn’t belong to his daughter, including spiral notebooks that logged names and credit card numbers, according to court papers. His daughter also received threatening text messages, allegedly from Devlin’s boyfriend, demanding his property back.

Many identity theft victims aren’t aware that their personal information had been stolen. Oftentimes, they realize when a loan is denied or they check their credit report.

“It’s a nightmare for them,” French said. “Now they have to convince businesses who they are.”

It typically takes about six months to a year for victims to stop the fraudulent charges, French said. However, there are cases where victims had their identity compromised 20 years later.

French suggested that people remove all personally identifiable information from their homes if they choose to rent the space out.

“It’s not enough to keep it in a locked room,” Everett police Sgt. Matt Mekelburg said.

French said it is a good idea for people to check their credit report a few times a year, even if they don’t suspect they’ve been targeted.

“Identity theft goes on for years,” Mekelburg said. “It’s tens of hundreds of hours tracking down what’s been stolen.”

Caitlin Tompkins:
425-339-3192;
ctompkins@heraldnet.com

Article source: http://www.heraldnet.com/news/woman-was-ringleader-of-identity-theft-ring-police-say/

Technorati Tags: ,

Free mail service can help prevent identity theft

Monday, August 28th, 2017


You are using an outdated browser. Upgrade your browser today or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site.




<!– layout: {uuid=fcdac0ad-b887-4336-897f-719f1008abfb, plid=282894785, groupId=10959, companyId=10155, createDate=null, modifiedDate=Wed Jun 07 14:47:07 GMT 2017, privateLayout=false, layoutId=381, parentLayoutId=0, name=Story, title=TheIndyChannel.com Indianapolis, IN, description=, keywords=, robots=, type=portlet, typeSettings=last-merge-time=1461614117738
layout-template-id=scripps_responsive_stickySidebar_v2
show-alternate-links=true
last-import-date=1496846826080
last-import-user-name=Alyssa Smith
merge-fail-count=0
sitemap-include=1
layoutUpdateable=true
last-import-user-uuid=61963876-f341-4018-9008-7f187953ca80
default-asset-publisher-portlet-id=101_INSTANCE_XM0T2Fi0tOZj
sitemap-changefreq=daily
column-31=101_INSTANCE_XM0T2Fi0tOZj,56_INSTANCE_UPLzpxULMx1d,56_INSTANCE_kw8khOKNrBs3,56_INSTANCE_VnUpwbsP7HgP,
column-51=56_INSTANCE_16Srxaw1qhZm,56_INSTANCE_TMkvABDP4cu2,
column-42=56_INSTANCE_0OFtSFAvDQCV,
column-41=56_INSTANCE_9HqWeMhVnMfw,56_INSTANCE_RzMe7ZIR5KfK,56_INSTANCE_rfPhXxUIuR3G,
, hidden=true, friendlyURL=/story, iconImage=false, iconImageId=0, themeId=broadcastresponsivebasetheme_WAR_broadcastresponsivebasetheme, colorSchemeId=15, wapThemeId=scrippsbase_WAR_spsbasetheme, wapColorSchemeId=, css=, priority=14, layoutPrototypeUuid=ad2554a7-9189-472c-914c-b56803a053c1, layoutPrototypeLinkEnabled=false, sourcePrototypeLayoutUuid=} –>

Have you ever been waiting for an important piece of mail to arrive, and it never does? You can get frustrated when you realize your mail has been lost or stolen. Now the U.S. Postal Service is launching a new, free mail service to help eliminate that problem. It’s called Informed Delivery, and it allows you to see photos of mail coming to your house before it arrives.

The USPS takes photos of letter-sized mail during scanning and processing at its facilities. Participants who opt into the mail service then receive a daily email with the images of your mail, so you know what to expect that day. You can download an app from Apple or Google (Android) to get the messages sent directly to your smartphone.

Right now the service only includes letter-sized mail. But the USPS may add flat-sized pieces, such as catalogues and magazines, to the list soon.

The free service runs nationwide. However, not every location has it, yet. So search your zip code on the site to see if you can take advantage.

mail photo

Mail service can help prevent identity theft

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your incoming mail, as mail theft often leads to identity theft. In fact, The Federal Trade Commission estimates 400,000 people had their identities stolen last year because of mail theft.

“We tend to find the suspects are looking for checks, things that they can alter or ‘wash’ to convert to their own gain,” postal inspector Mike Carroll told WNCN.

mail photo

In addition to signing up for Informed Delivery, you can protect yourself from mail theft by going to the post office and stopping your mail. If no one plans to be at your home to pick up the mail, consider doing this to prevent a back up in your mailbox.

Also, consider directly mailing your bills and letters. Many people raise the flag on their mailbox for outgoing mail instead of going to the post office. Unfortunately, that flag can also serve as a notice to criminals that potential beneficial mail waits inside. To be on the safe side, take your mail directly to the post office instead.

This story originally appeared on Don’t Waste Your Money. Checkout Don’t Waste Your Money for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.


Print this article
Back to Top


Article source: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/free-mail-service-can-help-prevent-identity-theft_27150950

Technorati Tags: ,

Protect against identity theft

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Many people realize they are victims of identity theft when they submit their tax returns and the Internal Revenue Service lets them know someone else already used their SSN to file a return.

The IRS has stopped millions of dollars from getting into the hands of thieves. To protect against identity theft, the agency launched “The Taxes. Security. Together.” awareness campaign in 2015 to inform people about ways to protect their personal, tax and financial data. For example, don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse and only provide your Social Security number if it’s necessary. Protect personal information at home and protect personal computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for online accounts.

Remember, criminals often try to impersonate banks, credit card companies and even the IRS hoping to steal personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid fake communications. Also, the IRS will not call a taxpayer threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand immediate payment. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

Here’s what taxpayers should do if they cannot e-file their return because someone already filed using their SSN:

• File a tax return by paper and pay any taxes owed;

• File an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. Include it with the paper tax return and/or attach a police report describing the theft if available;

• File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant;

• Contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov and type in “identity theft” in the search box;

• Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft;

• Contact one of the three credit bureaus so a fraud alert or credit freeze can be placed on the affected account;

• Check with the applicable state tax agency to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.

If the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return with a taxpayer’s stolen SSN, that taxpayer could receive a letter asking him or to her confirm identity by calling a special number or visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

If a taxpayer is a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS might issue the individual an IP PIN – a unique, six-digit number a taxpayer uses to e-file the tax return. Each year, the taxpayer will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.

If taxpayers suspect or know of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, they can visit IRS.gov and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.

Information about tax-related identity theft is available online. The IRS has a special section on IRS.gov devoted to identity theft and information for victims to obtain assistance.

For more information, see the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.

Article source: http://www.tribtoday.com/news/business/2017/08/protect-against-identity-theft/

Technorati Tags: ,