Articles Posted in Identity Theft

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Denise Richardson has an excellent summary of the recent Trans Union settlement and what that means for consumers (particularly for preventing Identity Theft) in her post here. We recommend studying her post and then making your own decision as to what is best for you.

If you live in Alabama and have questions about Identity Theft, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on your options.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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Much of the ID theft occurs by family members. The response by major creditors has been to adopt a so-called “Domestic Policy” which is where if a family member stole your identity to open an account, this is your problem. This policy is wrong and illegal.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the reporting to be accurate. If you did not authorize or allow the account with the creditor to be open, we fail to see how the relationship of the ID thief makes a difference. Now, we do always recommend that you be willing to prosecute – regardless of who committed the theft. If you don’t, the creditor can (fairly or unfairly) make attacks on your credibility.

If you are a victim of ID theft, even if by a family member, feel free to contact us for help particularly against the major credit card companies that refuse to correct your credit.

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Carey at the Consumerist has a very good post on what he did when he discovered $1600 in fraudulent charges on a store credit card. Its good to read about what to do when something like this happens but it is also very helpful to read what someone actually did in this type of situation.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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We wanted to warn Alabama Consumers on the latest target for identity thieves. Apparently, they are now even so bold as to use the IRS to unwittingly commit identity theft on consumers. We recently came across a great article alerting us to this practice in the Wall Street Journal.

The article found that the IRS and FTC are reporting growing numbers of victims complaining about identity theft related to their tax returns. Apparently, they are seeing two types of fraud. The first is where someone uses your private information to file a return in your name and then either tries to get the refund or take out a loan against the refund. The second is where someone uses your information to obtain a job, then files a return with your personal information on it. When you go to file your actual tax return, the IRS believes that you have already filed causing all sorts of headaches.

In regards to actual numbers, the article noted that “the Federal Trade Commission received 20,782 complaints on tax-related identity-theft issues in 2007, up from 15,442 in 2006 and 8,041 in 2003.” However, an IRS representative stated that she “believes those numbers ‘significantly understate’ the size of the problem and the number of taxpayers hurt by it because, she says, the agency doesn’t have a comprehensive method of tracking the various types of identity-theft cases.”
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Alabama consumers should be aware of this jury duty scam we recently read about on the Houston Consumer Blog. This is a blog that the local ABC News Station has on their website. The blog is maintained by Mike Mcguff, who has done an excellent job of informing Houston consumers of issues they need to be aware of.

Apparently, an identity theft was attempting to obtain individual’s personal information by calling them and telling them that they had missed jury duty and were being fined. One person he called reported it this way:

“I received a phone call yesterday from someone claiming to be with the Harris County Jury Assembly Room Staff. They said that I had failed to report to Jury Duty and I would be fined $300 dollars if I did not. Then they told me that I could pay with a credit card and get it taken care of right away. I do not have a credit card, so I told them I had never received a letter/summons and if I was going to be fined, I would rather send in a money order or check. Then I started asking more questions about what I could do to avoid the fine, since I had never received the letter, and they just hung up on me.

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According to myentrust’s article, a staggering five percent of all identity theft victims are children. You should definitely read the entire article but here is a critical part of the article:

Here are some common sense Tips to Protect Children from identity theft and online fraud:

1) Keep info private – Educate children about the importance of keeping personal information private.

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Lita Epstein of Walletpop has an excellent post on Protecting Your Identity – Understand The Types of Identity Theft. We highly recommend this particular article and this site in general. Identity theft is a terrible problem that we all face and every bit of information we can gain (and that we use – knowledge by itself is worthless) can be the difference between almost being a victim and being an identity theft victim.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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This would be funny if it wasn’t so serious – a 7 year old boy has been told by the IRS he owes back taxes on $60,000. It turns out a despicable person has been using the boy’s identity since 2001. Let’s see – using advanced math skills – the boy was, what, one year old when his identity was stolen? Or was he not even one yet? Amazing!

The story is pretty short but it gives the details – we recommend you read it in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Protect yourself and your children from identity theft. If you have been the victim of identity theft contact a consumer attorney. This will help make sure you get it cleared up – or if it doesn’t get cleared up you can sue the companies that refuse to honor their obligations under federal and state law.

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We ran across this video that discusses the dangers of eating out. Though this happened in April of 2007, you could still potentially be a victim of this scam. The scam involves credit card skimming, which is where someone who uses your credit card runs it through a device, which records your personal information from the card. They can then make a duplicate card, which appears to be and works just like your card. When used, the charges show up on your account.

The only real way to prevent this is to regularly check your credit and bank card statements and balances. If anything looks out of line, contact your bank immediately to report it.

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Most of us have probably heard or seen the commercials from LifeLock – the owner gives out his social security number without fear because he is protected against identity theft. For the curious, his social security number can be found on the website. Rush Limbaugh advertises the service. Apparently LifeLock now has about 700,000 customers who pay about $10 per month. So what’s the problem? For one, Experian has now sued LifeLock.

According to Andrew Johnson of The Arizona Republic, Experian is claiming that “LifeLock is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by signing up its customers for fraud alerts and removing their names from direct mailing lists.”

Here are several more interesting quotes from this good story:

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