Fight ID theft with these weapons

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:00 am
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Updated: 4:47 am, Wed Oct 30, 2013.

Fight ID theft with these weapons

By PHIL MULKINS World Business Writer

TulsaWorld.com

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0 comments

If you’ve already revealed personal financial information to someone on the phone posing as Medicare or Social Security, you are at risk of identity theft. ID theft happens when criminals use your credit card numbers, or bank numbers, or Social Security number to order credit cards with your numbers and then have them delivered to the thief’s address. They go on a shopping spree and you learn this when the bill arrives.


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration remind seniors these agencies will never call you to update information or give you a new card. If a caller asks for your personal information, do not provide it.

There are four weapons in your “emergency anti-fraud kit,” says the Experian website ¬ó the fraud alert (initial, active duty and extended) or the security freeze.

Fraud alerts: These are red flags for anyone looking at your credit file. They alert credit grantors you might have been the victim of suspicious activity. Fraud alerts warn them to verify legitimacy of requests for new credit, extensions of credit on existing accounts or additional cards on existing accounts. Initial fraud alerts remain in force 90 days, active duty alerts last for one year and extended fraud alerts last seven years.

Initial fraud alert: This is placed when you believe you’re a victim of fraud or are at risk of being a victim. When you or someone else attempts to open a credit account in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing account, or obtain a new card on an existing account, the lender should take steps to verify you have authorized the request. When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, you’re entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting companies. Ask and only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports.

Military/active duty alert: When you’ve been called to active duty military service away from your usual duty post, this type of alert works the same as the initial fraud alert, except it remains on your file for 12 months, and removes your name from pre-screened credit offers for two years.

Extended fraud alert: If you know you’re a victim, also place this on your credit file, where it remains for 7 years and requires creditors to verify your request by contacting you through phone numbers you provided the credit reporting agency when you requested the extended fraud alert. To place one, you must write to one of the nationwide credit reporting agencies and provide a valid police “Identity Theft Report” showing you are an ID theft victim and provide day and evening telephone numbers.

With this alert, you may request two extra free credit file disclosures, and your name is removed from prescreened offers of credit or insurance for five years.

For any of these alerts, you will receive a confirmation when they are added to your credit file. They do not prevent third parties from viewing your credit file. However, third parties are required to take steps to verify you have authorized their activity on your account if they see a fraud alert on the credit file. They still provide lenders with access to credit files and the ability to give credit to anyone they wish.

Tulsa World consumer writer Phil Mulkins wants to know which topics interest you. Call 918-699-8888, email your suggestion to phil.mulkins@tulsaworld.com or mail it to Tulsa World Consumer, PO Box 1770, Tulsa, OK 74102-1770.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:00 am.

Updated: 4:47 am.


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Article source: http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/consumer/fight-id-theft-with-these-weapons/article_8d01baf4-1a08-5528-b250-845937257c09.html

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