If you have your identity stolen you may spend years and thousands of dollars dealing with the mess. Bad credit can prevent you from getting a job, buying a car, a house, cost you high interest if you can even get a loan...

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Guard Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a serious and growing crime.

If you have your identity stolen you may spend years and thousands of dollars dealing with the mess.

The mess can be a big one.

Bad credit can prevent you from getting a job, buying a car, a house, cost you high interest if you can even get a loan.

There are many ways Identity Thieves get your information.

While hacking into computers gets a lost of press, it's often dishonest employees who have access to your information that are the culprits.

Identity thieves approach employees and offer them money or simply steal the information themselves and put it to ill use.

They may steal your mail, go dumpster diving in your trash for statements and credit card offers and other revealing information.

A practice dubbed “skimming” has gotten some press recently.

This practice involves attaching a device to an ATM or credit card machine that picks up account and Pin numbers.

Once Identity Thieves have your Social Security number and birth date, the door is open. They can use any number of services to pull your credit report.

Once the crooks have enough pieces to the puzzle of your credit life, the nightmare begins.

Preventing theft by diligent and skilled thieves is not easy.

One of the basic rules is not to give your Social Security Number to anyone who doesn't really need it. Doctors and other medical offices are the worst offenders here.

I have had more than one run in with an insistent office employee. If you ask why, they won't tell you.

That's because they only need the SSN number to make their computer work.

Unless they can present a legal case why they need it, don't give out your SSN number.

The same goes for your birth date and your mothers maiden name.

Signing up for one of those credit alert services is a good way do damage control by keeping on top of what's happening with your credit.

Minimally you should get your FREE credit report once a year from all three credit bureaus. Do not store sensitive information on your computer.

Victims of Identity thief should take the following steps

-Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
-Close all accounts that have been tampered with
-File a police report
-File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
-Contact the IRS
(identity theft as it relates to your Tax Records)


Contact Information:

Credit Bureau Federal Trade Commission IRS
Equifax 1-800-525-6285 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) www.irs.gov keyword: identity theft

Transunion 1-800-680-7289 www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Call 1-877-777-4778 Taxpayer

Experion 1-800-397-3742 Advocate Service

Always follow up all phone conversations with written documentation of the conversation. Send a copy to the party you spoke with by certified mail.

Source: National Society of Tax Preparers

The Tiger, Elizabeth Marasco, MBA, Mike Bronstein CPA
354 Neighborhood Rd.
Mastic Beach,NY 11951
Fax: 631-207-8349

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