Be mindful of the genuine and useful resources available regarding identity theft.
1.Be aware that identity theft is a long-standing and pressing problem
Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past 15 years.
In 2014 alone, the FTC received 330,000 complaints from consumers who were victims of identity theft. Data breaches involving millions of us through Anthem, JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot, and government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, to name few, are evidence that no one is immune from identity theft.
Just last month, the Office of Personnel Management, a government agency with a mission of recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class workforce to serve the American people, was highlighted as a victim of cybercrime.
Furthermore, a recent study by FICO, the creator of the FICO score, shows that from January to April of this year, the number of compromised incidents at bank teller machines increased by 174 percent. And there has been a frightening 317 percent increase in compromised incidents at nonbank ATMs compared to the same period in 2014.
2.Get an instant response to basic question
Last month, the FTC launched a mind-blowing new resource, identitytheft.gov, which makes it easier for victims to report, manage and recover from identity theft.
The program has an easy-to-follow format, with step-by-step interactive checklists on what to do after receiving a data breach notice or experiencing full-blown identity theft.
The site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft, and provides sample letters and other helpful resources.
3.Employ a credit freeze rather than an extended fraud alert
A security freeze prevents thieves from opening new accounts; it also prevents the three credit reporting firms from selling or sharing people’s information.
Except existing creditors, no one will have access to a frozen credit file so that no new accounts can be opened. And most importantly, the identity theft protection provided by a credit freeze is undeniably unmatched.
Do be aware that you should never suggest a credit freeze before close of escrow, as that will delay the mortgage process.
Never suggest a credit freeze before close of escrow, as that will delay the mortgage process.
I recently spoke with Peter P. Kaplan, FTC deputy director, Office of Public Affairs. I asked him, as a federal employee, if his data including his Social Security number had been stolen, would he consider using an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze, and why?
His response couldn’t have been clearer: “A credit freeze will make it near impossible for a thief to open a new account because creditors will generally not extend credit unless they have access to a consumer’s credit report.
“Blocking access effectively blocks new accounts. Fraud alerts are also a useful tool but do not necessarily block new accounts. Fraud alerts require the potential creditor to take reasonable steps to verify the debtor’s identity but do not necessarily block new accounts.”
Helpful contact information for your clients
For fraud alerts
Equifax: 1-888-766-0008 (equifax.com)
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 (experian.com)
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 (transunion.com)
For credit freezes
Clients can also visit the firms’ websites to learn the process for placing a fraud alert or securing a credit freeze: equifax.com, experian.com and transunion.com.
Help eliminate fraud by reporting a scam when you see one
The FTC’s mission is to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. It and other law enforcement agencies fight fraud by learning about scams from victims who report them.
You can help bring scam artists to justice by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) when you spot suspicious activities. You can also sign up with the FTC to receive alerts about ongoing scams.
Author:Exit Blogger Dated: July 13th 2015 Views: 243 About Exit: ...
EXIT First Realty, a full service residential real estate brokerage serving the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Region, currently employs over 50 licensed Real Estate agents. Our agents come from diverse backgrounds but all are dedicated to providing the highest quality service to our clients. EXIT First Realty is a multilingual facility with representation from five countries and four different languages and its leadership team brings over 60 years of full-time real estate experience.
Our office is fully equipped with an integrated network of computer and communication systems. We have instant access to the regional Multiple Listing Service, Public Record Searches, and many other tools and services that our agents use to better serve you.r />
In addition to our agents and brokers, we also have administrative staff members that work tirelessly to accommodate any and all of your needs. They help coordinate meetings, set schedules, and ensure the timely processing and delivery of all your documents.
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