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IDENTITY THEFT

HOW IDENTITY THIEVES CONTACT YOU

  • Phone calls requesting information, social security number, credit card number, 3 digit security code on the back of your card.
  • Standard mail, such as pre-approved credit card offers containing your name and address.
  • Electronic mail with logos and realistic names.
  • Fake websites that mimic financial instructions.
  • Instant messages and text messages requiring a call to toll free number.

IF YOU BEOME A VICTIM

  • Contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus to report the identity theft.
  1. Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
  2. Equifax 1-800-525-6285
  3. Experian 1-888-397-3742
  • You may request a free copy of your credit report.
  • Review your credit report for additional fraudulent accounts or changes to your existing accounts.
  • Contact the bank or other creditor where you have an account that may be subject to identity theft. If the bank closes your account, ask them to issue new credit and debit cards, checks etc.
  • File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors.
  • File a complaint with the FTC at 1-877-ID THEFT (438-4338) or consumer.gov/idtheft

BASIC STEPS TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT

  • DO NOT GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION, such as account number and social security over the phone, through the mail or over the internet, unless you initiate the contact.
  • PROTECT YOUR PINS/PASSWORDS. Avoid using easily available information, mother’s maiden name, birthdate, phone number etc.
  • PAY ATTENTION TO BILLING CYCLES. Inquire at your bank if you do not receive a monthly bill. It may mean the bill has been diverted.
  • CHECK ACCOUNT STATEMENTS CAREFULLY to ensure all charges, checks, or withdrawals were authorized.
  • CANCEL CREDIT CARDS that you do not use.
  • SHARED DOCUMENTS, including pre-approved credit applications, insurance forms, bank statements and other financial information.

WARNING SIGNS OF IDENTITY THEFT

  • Regular bills and account statements fail to reach you on time.
  • Your bills include unauthorized accounts or expenses.
  • New accounts that you have not opened appear on your credit report.
  • You are refused a loan, credit card, mortgage or other credit because of unexplained debts on your credit report.
  • Collection agencies contact you about debts you didn’t incur.

PLEASE SIGN UP FOR OUR IDENTITY THEFT WEBINAR, visit our website at www.davidwingate.com.

Peace of mind is only a call or click away! For an Initial Consultation call Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate at (301) 663-9230 or visit www.davidwingate.com

David Wingate is an estate planning and elder law attorney at Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate. The Estate and Elder Planning office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick, Washington and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

Notice: this Blog is published as a free service of the Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate. The information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, please consult with one of our experienced attorneys. We encourage you to share this newsletter with anyone you think may be interested.

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