Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Only 17 percent of ID Theft Victims were Notified!

According to a nationwide identity theft victim survey
recently released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance, only
17 percent were notified by a creditor or financial
institution of suspicious activity on their account.

Most states within the U.S.A., unlike California, do
not have disclosure laws requiring financial
institutions to notify consumers
when significant mass identity theft takes place.

So, it's up to the you, the consumer to be diligent in
monitoring your credit & banking accounts. Especially,
when you consider the average time delay (5.5 months
according to the survey) after the identity theft has
occurred before the victim realizes it has happened.

The lengthy time required coupled with the frustration
and expense of identity theft restoration, is the
primary reason we urge our subscribers to consider the
many available options from Fico and others to
proactively guard against identity theft.

Here's why - two key statistics from the survey:

"40% of the victims named either the police, financial
institutions or credit issuers as the most difficult
to work with while attempting to resolve their case."

"28% of identity theft victims indicate they have NOT
been able to restore their identities, despite
averaging more than a year trying."

Coming on the heels of the recently disclosed 40
million credit card consumers effected by the identity
theft break-in against the processor for MasterCard
International, checking your own accounts is not only
a wise investment but may ultimately prove to save you
a large amount of personal time (81 hours).

Stay tuned for more free, anonymous tips & reviews from ID Theft Secrets.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Check your Medical Records for ID Theft & Fraud

Did you know that you may have a medical information
file that's centrally located for easy access by over
700 insurance companies?

Did you also know that you can order that file and see
what is contained in it?

Before we reveal this relatively unknown source which
has been in existence for nearly a century, why would
a typical consumer even care about their medical
information being effected in anyway with credit
identity theft?

Read the following excerpts as just a few examples of
how identity theft can occur due to unauthorized
access to your medical information:

''We've investigated cases where the compromise point
was the medical records and patient records,'' says
John Wisniewski, a U.S. Postal Inspector and
supervisor of the Financial Crimes Task Force of
Southwestern Pennsylvania. - USA Today

''Medical information contains your Social Security
number, date of birth and even a physical
description,'' says Betsy Broder, who tracks identity
theft for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). ''All of
those are keys that people could use to exploit
someones financial identity, as well as their personal
identity.'' - USA Today

It can be used to take over someones identity, get a
passport or even declare bankruptcy. If an identity
thief knows an individual is close to death, they
could take out a life insurance policy in the victim's
name, naming themselves or an accomplice as the

"September 15, 2004 state police have charged a New
Castle woman who worked for a medical billing company
with identity theft and making fraudulent purchases.
In June, a woman from Ohio contacted state police
about the illegal use of her social security number to
buy a vehicle in Delaware. Police say 34-year-old
Pamela Thompson-Saunders was using customers' personal
information to make fraudulent purchases, including
two cars and a motorcycle." - AP

"A temporary employee of the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute stole patients' personal information. The
employee used one patient's name and date to obtain
$2,500 in long distance services and other phone
service." (J. Ellement, "Dana-Farber Says Patient Data
Stolen, " The Boston Globe, August 8, 2000, p. A1)

"Michelle Perez's answer to not having medical
insurance was to assume someone else's identity. That
got the Elgin woman the gall bladder surgery she
needed, but a judge Thursday decided she couldn't get
out of paying the hospital bill - or out of jail. Kane
County Judge Timothy Sheldon ruled Perez, 28, would
have to pay back Sherman Hospital in Elgin the $37,000
for her operation. She also will have to stay in jail
another 58 days. She has been in jail since her arrest
in April. She also will serve 36 months of probation. "

Source - High Beam Research

Now that you may have an improved awareness of how
financially devastating identity theft and fraud can
impact you - using your medical records, we unveil
that little known source which can be an important

The Medical Information Bureau, also known as MIB
(, is the largest database of
medical information in the United States and Canada.
MIB conducts a confidential interchange of
underwriting information among its member life
insurance companies as an alert against fraud.

MIB holds approximately 15 million files in a central
database. MIB collects and provides information on
consumers to its over 700 member insurance companies
for use in their underwriting process.

MIB's member companies account for 99 percent of the
individual life insurance policies and 80 percent of
all health and disability policies issued in the
United States and Canada. When an insurance claim is
filed, a copy of this information goes to MIB.

Data collected by MIB may include:

  • medical conditions
  • family relationships
  • sexual behavior
  • substance abuse
  • driving records
  • criminal activity
  • participation in hazardous sports
  • private thoughts from psychotherapists

Note, the MIB may not have a file on you, but we
recommend you should verify it's existence as well as
the correctness of that information on you.

You can obtain a copy for free once a year by calling
(866) 692-6901 -or- by visiting the company's web site

Medical Information Bureau,
P.O. Box 105,
Essex Station,
Boston, MA 02112
(617) 426-3660

Saturday, July 16, 2005

ID Theft Prevention Special Notice for Extended Duty Military

Identity thieves unfortunately prey on would be
victims who are mostly pre-occupied
meeting the challenges of everyday life.

The elderly, the sick, and the millions of Americans
who're "just to busy making ends meet" have become
targets of opportunity for identity theft. Id Theft
Secrets blog
read an article just the other day how
U.S. service personnel serving our country have been
victimized lately at an alarming rate.

Imagine, you're far from home protecting this nation,
doing your duty, and the notices start to arrive from
bill collectors - for credit cards you know you -or-
your spouse never generated.

Upon further investigation,you find out an identity
thief has struck and used your good name and credit
reputation to commit fraud in your name by opening up
new accounts - even in some cases getting medical

So, our quick tip for any of those Americans serving
in the armed services far from home, here's today's
tip courtesy of the FTC.

"If you are a member of the military and away from
your usual duty station, you may place an active duty
alert on your credit reports to help minimize the risk
of identity theft while you are deployed. Active duty
alerts are in effect on your report for one year. If
your deployment lasts longer, you can place another
alert on your credit report.
When you place an active duty alert, you'll be removed
from the credit reporting companies' marketing list
for pre-screened credit card offers for two years
unless you ask to go back on the list before then."

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;; P.O. Box
740241, Atlanta, GA 30374- 0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);;
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud
Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton,
CA 92834-6790

"Contact only one of the three companies to place an alert the company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, as well. In addition to placing the alert on your credit report, the consumer reporting company also must provide you with a copy of your credit score. If your contact information changes before your alert expires, remember to update it.

When you place an active duty alert, your name will be removed from the nationwide consumer reporting companies’ marketing lists for prescreened offers of credit and insurance for two years unless you ask that your name be placed on the lists before then. Prescreened, offers sometimes called 'pre-approved' offers, are based on information in your credit report that indicates you meet certain criteria set by the offeror. "

If you know of any loved ones on extended deployment, please share this vital information with them so they may minimize or prevent the impact of identity theft.

Check back with ID Theft Secrets as we will uncover a virtually unknown personal information repository that is the largest medical information data provider to the insurance industry.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Turn the Online Reverse Directories Against ID Theft by...

Is someone out there using your name and personal
information against you?

Want to know by checking your own records using one of
the more comprehensive
online reverse directories publicly available over the

You can use a firm known as Intelius and their family safety service.

Search using your own social security number and find
out if there are other names associated with your

Intelius, will even allow you to search by unlisted,
non-published, & cell phone numbers. Once your basic
name & address is found, though, Intelius can
automatically search against public records data
available online.

Some of the data which can be quickly retrieved on
your file:

  • Name & Age Verification
  • Living Situation
  • Current Address Verification & Address History
  • Current Phone Verification
  • Criminal & Sex Offender Check
  • Child Support, Tax Liens & Bankruptcies
  • Current Property Ownership & Value

Of course, when you've conducted your personal check
and are satisfied your personal information has not
been used by an identity thief, we still recommend you
request your name to be removed from their file to
guard against future fraud against you.

The name removal request can be located here:

Once on that page, scroll down the page to the section
"How can I remove my information of Intelius public
records databases?".

Note, Intelius will require you to fax their completed form.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

How to Eliminate the Network Affiliations of On-line Reverse Directories

We continue with previous posts to systematically
eliminate your personal information from the various
on-line reverse directories which are linked across a
network of affiliated sites.

We advise consumers to start with some of the largest
services, such as Google,, AT&T's
AnyWho service and

Here's why, in the case of as an
example, they're either cross linked or hold on-line
supplier affiliations to the following additional
reverse directory providers we quickly found:

To request removal of your personal information from
these services accessibility, use this link:

Check back with ID Theft Secrets blog for an upcoming
post where we will show you a why to fight back
against Identity thieves.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lowering your Id Theft Risk with

Here's a scary thought: suppose your child, a single
person, or anyone gives out their phone number &
someone can actually look it up using various online
services to find out where you live.

Plus, many of these on-line "reverse lookup" sites
also offer background checks and searches for public
records for a fee on the person identified through a
telephone number, name or address. Through these
searches, everything from criminal and civil records
to property and licensing records can expose further
your personal information to a potential identity
thief to use to fraudulently represent you.

With the ability of some of these services to cross
reference not only traditional land lines to your
physical address, but now the ability to also include
wireless numbers for reverse searching, the prospect
of your personal identity theft grows even larger.

A quick check of's reverse phone lookup
can reveal in just 5 or less mouse clicks the
following personal identity information on you & your
spouse either directly or via linked partners:

  • Full address (including street & zip code)
  • Previous addresses (including street, zip code & phone
    numbers) up to 10 years ago
  • Your current age
  • Schools attended
  • Neighbors, relatives, & former room mates
  • Marriages & divorces
  • Home value & Property ownership
  • Much more...

All of that data can be either delivered instantly
on-line or within 1 hour via email

That's why ID Theft Secrets blog recommends you
request your personal information to be removed from
on-line services such as

As a sub-unit of SBC,, is a major
player in the on-line directory space. SBC, one of
the largest U.S. telecommunication companies, owns
Cingular Wireless, Pacific Telesis, Ameritech, &
several other units of the former regional bell
operating companies. doesn't directly provide a page on
their website for consumers to request removal of
their personal information. However, SBC does and
it's located at

We strongly urge you follow this tip to protect your
personal information from identity theft and also
please forward this tip to your friends and relatives.

Stay tuned for more related tips coming over the next
few days from ID Theft Secrets blog .

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thwarting Id Theft Using Phone Number Search beyond Google's Phonebook

Last week, we shared how to stop Id Thieves from using Google against you.

Now that you've removed your phone number from
Google's Phonebook, the proactive consumer still is
far from being safe.

The many cross linked data repositories still likely
hold your personal information typically used for
reverse look-ups. For example, using only your full
name an identity thief can very quickly retrieve your

  • Full Address
  • Phone Number (even unlisted ones)
  • Date of Birth
  • Email address

Just enough data items to easily commit identity fraud in your name.

So, ID Theft Secrets Blog further recommends you to systematically

eliminate your personal information from the various on-line reverse

Starting with some of the largest services, we offer
the wary consumer the following tips to opt-out:

AT&T's Anywho on-line directory

Check back later this week as we will provide more
sources for you to combat identity theft using online directories.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Identity Theft's Impact on Your Desired Living Location

As a follow on to yesterday's post we will focus on tenant screening services and the
ability for an unknowing consumer to be unfairly "black listed" due to the misdeeds of an identity thief.

Because identity thieves, who frequently change their
locations, prey on unsuspecting victims by assuming
their identities, it's vital to know how you can
verify your personal information has not been reported
incorrectly to the various, regional tenant
screening services.

Or, if have reason to believe that your file contains
inaccurate data because of fraud by an identity thief.

Failure to do so, may cause you to find out an
unpleasant surprise the next time you decide to move
to that new apartment in the nice location of your

Also, it can lead to negative information being
subsequently linked to your credit report.

First, a brief description what tenant screening
services are and what you can do to assist them
with your information.

Property managers use tenant screening services to
screen their applicants. Owners screen tenants for
ability to pay, criminal background, history with
other landlords and neighborliness. Tenant screening
reports may combine, in addition to data provided by
credit reporting agencies:

  • Landlord-tenant history
  • Your tenant payment history
  • Any other information provided by prior landlords:
  • Eviction and foreclosure records
  • Criminal record checks
  • Wanted fugitive checks
  • any felony, conviction, misdemeanor, and criminal
    convictions against you
  • Traffic convictions against you

Those types information are collected by the tenant
screening service and used by property managers to
approve or deny a tenancy.

Tenant screening agencies are mostly regional in
coverage. Similar to credit reporting agencies,
though, tenant screening agencies may have varying
information on you. Which fortunately for consumers
means these tenant screening services are responsible
under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to provide

So, you have the right to contact these agencies to
find out:

  1. All information in your file at the time of the
  2. The list of all people who received a copy of your
    report within the last 12 months.
  3. You are entitled to a free copy of your tenant report
    if, in the past two months, the information was used
    to deny you a rental application or to increase the
    rent or security deposit on a residential housing
  4. You also may get a free copy of the report if you
    receive public assistance or have reason to believe
    that your file contains inaccurate
    information because of fraud, otherwise the agency may
    charge a fee of approximately $8 for the report.
  5. If you feel the tenant report is incomplete or
    inaccurate you can require the tenant screening
    service to re-investigate and record the current
    status of the information. If the information is found
    to be inaccurate or cannot be verified within 30 days,
    it must be deleted from your file.

Now that you've been armed with this information to
guard against un-warranted identity theft & fraud, you can contact
these tenant screening services listed below as
today's tip from ID Theft Secrets blog:

Tenant Screening Services

National Association of Screening Agencies
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (877) 900-NASA

5801 East 41st Street, Suite 800
Tulsa, OK 74135
Tel: (800) 256-8898
Fax: (918) 622-9453

American Tenant Screen, Inc.
131 North Narberth Ave.
Narberth, PA 19072
Tel: (800) 888-1287
Fax: (800) 881-9699

Amrent, Inc.
9990 Richard Ave., Suite 100
Houston, TX 77042
(713) 266-1870
(713) 266-9146

Landlord Protect, Inc.
P.O. Box 521
Absecon, New Jersey 08201
Tel: (800) 221-9379
Fax: (800) 345-9379

National Tenant Network
525 SW First, #105
Post Office Box 1664
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034
Tel: (800) 228-0989
Fax: (800) 340-1116

Rental Research Services, Inc.
11300 Minnetonka Mills Road
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Tel: (800) 328-0333
Fax: (800) 642-5226

Rental Services, Inc.
10050 Ralston Road, Suite 7
Arvada, CO 80004
Tel: (303) 420-1212
Fax: (303) 420-1477

Resident Evaluation Service, Inc.
2755 South Locust Street, #209
Denver, CO 80222
Tel: (800) 752-8575
Fax: (303) 757-5573

Tenant Data Services, Inc.
421 South 9th Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Tel: 800-228-1837

Tenant Screening Services, Inc.
6824 19th Street West, Suite 291
University Place, WA 98466
Tel: (253) 565-9090
Fax: (253) 564-3964

The Registry, Inc.
11140 Rockville, #1200
Rockville, MD 20852
Tel: (800) 999-0350
Fax: (301) 984-7312

The U.D. Registry, Inc.
P.O. Box 9140
Van Nuys, CA 91409
Tel: (800) 321-7803
Fax: (818) 947-4460


Rental Housing Online

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

3 Major Reasons to Know What Minor "Blacklists" Hold on You

Check verification and tenant screening
services are similar to consumer "blacklists".

They can materially impact your ability to:

  1. open a bank account
  2. cash a check
  3. rent an apartment

In addition to these well-established consumer
"blacklists," the Justice Department recently gave
approval to phone companies to start their own

Which means consumers who don't pay their bills on
time will be reported to these "blacklists".

So, for victims of identity theft you could
unknowingly already be on one of these "blacklists"
which can create a negative impact for when the next
time you want to cash a check, open a new bank
account, or rent a new apartment.

Because these services are not widely known within the
general public, false and negative information may be
on file with these companies without your knowledge.
Even more dangerously, you could be a victim of
identity theft and not know this for an extended
period of time.

One common way many identity theft victims eventually
find out they've been "black listed" is when they're
shopping with one of the more than 85,000
retailers and stores which use the services
of the 22 largest check verification companies that
approve -or- disapprove a check based upon an
individual's check-writing history
compiled from a number of sources.

Or, also when a consumer is evaluated for a new
account opening decision at the bank.

For today's tip, we recommend consumers should inquire
to verify you are not among the listed as credit

Consumers should report false and inaccurate
information to the check verification companies
as the merchants who supply them information have an
obligation to complete an investigation to present
results within 30 days. Those results can be
presented to the consumer -or- to the check
verification company.

For starters, here's a list of check verification
companies to verify your personal identity is correct:

(800) 766-2748

Consumer Relations (800) 428-9623,
(800) 328-5121
(regarding closed checking accounts only)
Attn: Consumer Relations
12005 Ford Road - Suite 600
Dallas, TX 75234
Fax: (214) 241-4772

CrossCheck, Inc.
(707) 586-0551
(800) 552-1900
6119 State Farm Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

National Processing Company
Merchant Services
(800) 526-5380
(502) 364-2000

(800) 366-2425

Monday, July 04, 2005

Start with One of the Most Pervasive Repositories...

Continuing with our series this month on public
repositories that you can thwart would be identity
thieves from using is the widely used service we all
love: Google.

That's right, Google has become an unfortunate ally
now to even identity thieves.

By cross referencing various 3rd party reverse phone
directories, Google provides an easy way for identity
thieves to quickly locate personal information
contained in numerous on-line phone directories.
Unfortunately, many of these services allow an identity
thief to cross reference your social security number
against the basic physical address where you live or
even your linked phone number.

So, before we expose the various reverse directory and
black lists, here's today's quick tip for wary
consumers to deny identity thieves your personal

Go to Google's Phonebook Name Removal page and fill
out the form on-line to get delisted. there's a
section for consumers or for business listings as

Special note, by filling out the form you're only
requesting Google to remove your phonebook listing for
any phonebook search on your phone number or name.

It does NOT however, eliminate your personal
information from the various phone book directories or
from other pages on the web or from other reverse
phone listing look-up services.

In the next few days we will disclose more sources and
tips to protect your personal and credit identity
information from id theft using the less obvious but repositories.

All provided as free education service courtesy of ID Theft Secrets blog.

Friday, July 01, 2005

ID Theft Prevention - Other Crucial Personal Info to Check?

Now that you've checked your credit reports from the
three major credit bureaus for errors and corrected
them, what else should you do to guard against
identity theft?

Because identity thieves mostly use your stolen
personal information to quickly abuse or open new
credit card, cell phone, & checking accounts you can get

Most consumers don't even find out their personal
identity has been abused and they're on one of these
blacklists until one of the following typical
rejections takes place:

  • Payment by check is denied because you've been
    identified as a person who has written "bad" checks

  • Payment by credit card is denied because you've been
    identified as frequent "delinquent" - or worst a
    "collections" account
  • An application to move into a new apartment is denied as
    you've been identified as a person who "skipped"
    paying rent money owed at a previous apartment
  • Attempting to get a new cell phone account is rejected
    since you did not pay several, large outstanding bills

Over the coming weeks, Id Theft Secrets blog will
expose a number of these very obscure, but just as
important (as credit) linked, personal information
repositories which you should verify you have not
become an identity theft victim.

Identity thieves take advantage of today's highly
inter-linked world of consumer information. While
your social security number (SSN) was originally invented
in 1936 for benefits tracking, it has become the
universal consumer identifier to cross reference
multiple disparate databases.

So one of the first areas you can check is the Social
Security Administration (SSA).

You can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the
accuracy of the earnings reported on your SSN, and to
request a copy of your Social Security Statement or to
get a replacement SSN card if yours is lost or stolen.