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Financial Literacy - Protecting your identity Click Here
MONEY MAKEOVER
Victim sets out to restore his name
Mike enlists help to protect his accounts from further damage and clear fraudulent transactions.
Protecting your identity
  Money makeover: The plan
The plan: Minimize damage and regain control
"Mike"
Profile: "Mike"
The problem:
Mike's personal information was compromised.
The plan:
Take the steps necessary to restore order to Mike's life.

Protect credit files and all current accounts
Kroll's first goal in any potential identity theft situation is to make sure the client is protected from further damage. Mike initially placed a 90-day fraud alert on his credit files upon discovering he was a victim of identity theft. Acting on Mike's behalf and with his legal authorization, Kroll saw to it that Mike's security was extended. We contacted the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and requested seven-year extended fraud alerts.

Since Mike's checking account information was compromised in the data breach experienced by his former employer, he also needed to protect his check-related consumer reports. ChexSystems and SCAN provide consumer reports that reflect negative check-related information. Like the major credit reporting agencies, ChexSystems and SCAN offer a temporary security alert. An alert can be placed with ChexSystems and SCAN by calling their toll free numbers:

  • ChexSystems: (888) 478-6536
  • SCAN: (877) 382-7226

Remember, Mike first discovered he was a victim of identity theft because an imposter had tried to surreptitiously gain sensitive financial information. With that in mind, we advised Mike to further protect himself by adding pass-code protection to his checking and savings accounts, credit accounts and even his utility accounts. With pass-code protection, no address changes can be made, no authorized users can be added and no new cards can be requested without first providing that special pass-code personally selected by Mike.

The plan in 4 steps
Protect accounts from further damage
Request extended fraud alerts from credit reporting agencies.
Place security alert with ChexSystems and SCAN to protect checking account.
Add pass code protection to all financial accounts, including bank, credit and utility accounts.
Tip: Use this work sheet to help you implement fraud alerts and security freezes.
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Most consumers already use a type of pass-code protection, which is typically their mother's maiden name. With a little research, an identity thief could find this information and access accounts. If personal or financial information has been compromised, Kroll recommends using an arbitrary password or a combination of letters and numbers as an account pass-code. Consumers can call each creditor and ask that the password be placed on their account for added security. For simplicity's sake, the same pass code, if secure, could be used on all accounts.

Close tampered accounts, existing or new
Mike reviewed the statements for all of his existing credit cards to confirm no fraudulent activity had occurred. If Mike had noticed fraudulent transactions on a credit card or debit card, he would have closed those accounts and disputed the charges directly with his credit card company or bank.

To determine whether other new accounts had been opened in Mike's name, Kroll advised Mike to review his credit reports from the three major national credit reporting agencies to identify accounts, credit inquiries or any other entries he did not recognize.

Mike not only discovered that fraudulent accounts had been opened in his name, he also found credit inquiries that he had not authorized. The inquiries indicated that the criminal had attempted to open other accounts as well. Mike immediately closed the fraudulent accounts and reported the unauthorized credit inquiries to those creditors.

Clear fraudulent transactions
Federal law provides consumers with protection against fraudulent credit and debit card transactions, limiting a consumer's liability in the event of fraud. The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures to dispute billing errors, including fraudulent credit card transactions. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides protection to consumers for debit and ATM card transactions, as well as any other transactions that electronically debit or credit an account.

  The problem
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