Wednesday, June 29, 2005

8 No-Cost Tips to Guard against Identity Theft & Credit Card Fraud

Here's eight ways for you to guard against identity theft
while saving yourself time and money:

  • Make sure your credit card company has your most
    current phone number (especially your cell phone -or-
    work number) so the card company can call
    you immediately when they spot suspicious charge
    patterns on your account.
  • Don't ever use your ATM debit card for Internet
    purchases. Your credit card fraud liability is limited
    to $50 but ATM debit card fraud could drain all of the
    available funds within your checking account.
  • Be on the lookout for small but unusual transactions
    such as frequent purchases at gas stations you did not
  • If you get a phone call or an e-mail about
    suspicious activity on your account, give no
    information over the phone or on-line.
    Instead, write the card representative's name down on
    paper and attempt to call them back at the number
    listed on the back of your card.
  • Frequently inspect your statements on-line.
  • Call your credit card company immediately if a
    monthly statement doesn't appear in the mail on time.
  • Shred your statements once you've checked to make
    sure they're correct.
  • Shred new card solicitations promptly after
    reading them.

Eight-No-Cost-Tips-to-Guard-against-Identity-Theft-and-Credit-Card-Fraud-audio-post - click to play

Monday, June 27, 2005

Employer ID Theft Prevention Tip

Effective earlier this month (6/1/05), any business or
employer that uses consumer information derived from a
credit report directly -or- indirectly must now meet
tougher standards for proper disposal.

Failure to dispose of discarded consumer information
in a way that will keep it out of the hands of
identity thieves, can result in substantial fines &

  • Civil liability. An employee whose identity is
    stolen as a result of an employer's failure to comply
    with the new rule could be entitled to recover actual
    damages sustained — or the employer could be hit with
    statutory damages of up to $1,000 per employee.
  • Class action. If large numbers of employees are
    affected, they could file a class action lawsuit under
    the new rule, and could be awarded punitive damages
    from their employer.
  • Federal and state fines. An employer could be
    fined up to $2,500 for each violation by the U.S.
    government. In addition, states can fine up to $1,000
    for each violation.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the FACT
Act requires any business -or- employer (even if only
person is employed) must "take reasonable measures" to
protect against unauthorized access to or use of the
consumer information in connection with its disposal.

In case you're wondering what "reasonable measures"
might include, the Disposal Rule specifies three
possible ways to comply:

  1. Burning, pulverizing, or shredding of physical
  2. Erasure or destruction of all electronic media
  3. Entering into a contract with a third party
    engaged in the business of information destruction
    Many small business owners are referring to the new
    rule as the "shredder law".

The key learning on the FACT Act is that it opens up a
much wider definition of who is now responsible to
safeguard consumers against identity theft.

For example, you can be sued for a $1,000 by an angry
nanny whose identity data was plucked from your trash
simply because you had not invested in a $50 shredder
to properly dispose of her personal credit

Or if you're that nanny (and any employee of a business), demand the right to have your personal credit information or derivatives shredded to protect you from identity theft.

It's now the law!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Visa Cardholders - Shop Online & Offline with Zero Risk!

Did you know you can be protected from unauthorized
use of your Visa card or account information?

Coming on the heels of that 40 million credit card
account holder's theft reported this past Friday,
here's a nifty service already in place to aid
consumers to protect personal credit information.

According to Visa, you now have complete liability
protection from all of your card transactions which
take place over their network.

So, you pay nothing for any fraudulent activity should
an identity thief steal your card number while your
shopping both on-line or offline.

Visa's policy covers all Visa credit and debit cards
processed over the Visa network.*

Plus, Visa also offers protection for your existing card with a password you create to assure only you can use your Visa card online. This service is called Verified by Visa.

*Note, for more details & qualifications, please visit
Visa's website.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What You Can Do to Monitor for ID Theft & Fraud

You can be your own fraud monitor just by paying close
attention to your credit card & bank statements, particularly

We recommend at ID Theft Secrets blog, that you should
open -or- switch to credit cards which allow you to
view your statements on-line. This enables you to
self monitor your accounts typically within 1 -2 days
of any transactions - especially looking for
suspicious ones.

According to a recent report by the Better Business
Bureau, accessing accounts on-line provides earlier
identity theft detection compared to monitoring
monthly paper statements and bills.

Here are some of the id theft flags you can look for
which may indicate fraudulent activity has already

1) Change in date of birth or social security number

2) Change in the name on your account

3) Unusually large purchases compared to the normal
patterns for your account

4) For your on-line eCommerce accounts, the shipping
address has suddenly changed or is different than your
billing address

By monitoring your accounts on a regular basis to
simply look for some of these common steps identity
theft thieves use to commit fraud, you will be able to
better protect your accounts from unauthorized use.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Faster Discovery of Identity Theft Use this...

To discover Identity Theft faster than waiting for your monthly banking statements, we recommend this strategy to compliment automatic credit monitoring services.

Use a credit card issued from a bank with online access which enables you to see your charges within a day or two.

This method is a much faster way to discover identity theft or fraud committed against you instead of waiting for your monthly statement from your financial institution.

Due to billing cycles the paper statements which are mailed each month can often contain changes to your account that occurred up to 40 days earlier.

For an identity thief, that's more than ample time to ruin your credit rating.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Most Consumers Find Out Months or Weeks After ID Fraud Happened

this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Latest Security Breach Exposes 40 million to Credit Fraud

-parts based on AP News 6/17/05-

It's roughly equivalent to every man, woman, & child
living in the state of California and Nevada combined.

The breach appears to be the largest yet involving
financial data according to the Electronic Privacy
Information Center.

The names, banks and account numbers of up to 40
million credit card holders may have been accessed by
an unauthorized user according to MasterCard
International Inc. Friday.

The credit card giant indicated the security breach
involves a computer virus that captured customer data
for fraud.

This latest breach will affect all major brands of
credit cards and their consumers. The breach was
traced to CardSystems Solutions Inc., which processes
credit card and other payments for banks and

The compromised data did not include addresses or
Social Security numbers according to a MasterCard
spokesman. But, the data (names, banks
and account numbers) could be used to steal funds and
not identities.

MasterCard, which said about 14 million of its own
cards were exposed, first announced the breach in a
news release Friday afternoon, saying it was notifying
its card-issuing banks of the problem.

At post time, all the other major credit card issuers
had yet to issue disclosures on the total number of
effected cards holders.

We urge consumers to not wait until their credit
company sends a notification letter or does nothing at

Take action today - get enrolled with automatic credit
monitoring for your own credit protection.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Quick Tip to Protect your ATM Card

It's not uncommon these days for your
ATM card issued by your bank to also
be your Visa or Mastercard
account access device as well.

 Quick-Tip-to-Protect-your-ATM-Card-audio-post - click to play

Identity thieves, unfortunately, know this all to
well. They use speed to their advantage to rapidly
charge purchases with busy merchants who do not
always check for photo id.

So, here's our quick tip to prevent identity theft:

Instead of signing the back of your credit/debit card,
write "check photo id" in the signature block.
Many banks now issue credit/debit cards that display
your photograph on the front. If that's an option with
your bank, consider doing it. Both of these practices
make it more difficult for a thief to use your card in

Even if your card does not contain an embedded photo
of yourself, this practice still makes it more
difficult for the identity thief to copy your
signature from the card.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Identity Theft continues to Grow out of Control...

Think you are not already an identity theft victim?

As recently reported by Wired News:

"Six million other people in the United States have
received identity theft disclosure letters from their
financial institutions in less than four month, and
the number is growing, according to San Diego based
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse."

In one of the latest breaches to come to light,
Citigroup's consumer finance division last week said
social security numbers, addresses and credit
histories of 3.9 million customers were lost."
Now, view those figures against previous disclosures
from other data aggregators and financial institutions
listed below:

ChoicePoint - 145,000
Lexis Nexis - 32,000
Time Warner - 600,000
Wachovia - 100,000
Bank of America - 100,000
Ameritrade Holdings - 200,000

By any measure, identity theft is a major problem with
the growth potential to touch more consumers than ever

Given most identity theft & subsequent credit fraud
goes un-detected for many months, we would not be
surprised to learn of more large disclosures to come
in the near future.

So, the key take-a-way from this posting - you
probably stand a higher chance of becoming a victim of
identity theft than winning the lottery. We'd
recommend consumers should proactively protect
themselves with credit monitoring services. Any of
the major credit monitoring services available from
Fico, Equifax, Experian, & Trans Union are better than
not having protection.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fast, Simple Identity Theft Protection for Vacation Time

With summer vacations beginning for most consumers, an
added id theft vulnerability can occur while being
away from home for extended periods.

Here's a quick & simple tip to thwart would be
identity thieves.

If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick
up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service at
1-800-275-8777 to ask for a vacation hold.

Also, contact your local newspaper to hold delivery
until after your return.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Up to 2 Years Recovery from ID Theft

Think the cost of an automated credit monitoring
service is not worth it?

Then, consider the following excerpt:

According to, "Experts report that a victim
can spend anywhere from six months to two years
recovering from identity theft."

Consider that premium credit monitoring services from
vendors such as, Equifax, Experian, etc.
will provide you alerts from their constant monitoring
of your credit report, for less money per month than
most people will typically spend on dinner out or a

This has been another quick tip from ID Theft Secrets

We're located on the internet at

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A simple, Automated Method to Detect and Protect against Identity Theft

Regularly checking your credit report for changes you
did not make is one of the best ways to combat
identity theft.

Continuing with our recent reviews of major automation
methods to guard against identity theft and fraud, we
tried another one of the major players which we found
would be a valuable ally for your personal credit
information protection.

"Equifax Credit Watch™ makes monitoring your report
easy by automatically alerting you within 24 hours of
key changes in your Equifax Credit Report™ like when
someone tries to get credit in your name so you can
act before serious damage is done. And with credit
card fraud being the most common type of identity
theft, Equifax Credit Watch™ can now alert you to
sudden changes in your credit card balances."

The service also includes your Equifax Credit Report™,
identity theft insurance(up to $20,000 - exclusions
apply) and access to live customer support."

The email/wireless alerts, unlimited access to your
Equifax credit report, & up to $20,000 in identity
theft insurance (a down-loadable certificate is
available from their web site)were features we would
draw your attention to you when comparing other
competing services commercially available.

The Equifax Credit Watch™Gold service can be acquired
for just $9.95 per month (requires a 3 month minimum).

For more information on this credit identity theft prevention service check out our recommended resources section.