Everything You Need to Know About Identity Theft, Credit Cards, Credit Repair, and Credit Reports
"The author substitutes straight talk for legal mumbo-jumbo in 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Your Credit. Reading this book is like getting a black belt in consumer self-defense."
–Jim Bohannon, host of The Jim Bohannon Show
"Identity theft is among the fastest-growing problems facing Americans today. This book will help you learn all you need to know to protect your lives, money, and security. Consider it your first stop in your quest for knowledge and guidance to prevent ID theft."
–Robert Powell, Editor of CBS MarketWatch
"As one who has lived through some of the nightmare scenarios discussed by the author,
I believe "Steve's Rules" (Chapter 14) need to be placed in a prominent place so you can see them any time you think you are safe. They may be the new practical commandments for financial survival."
–Doug Stephan, host of the Good Day nationally syndicated radio show
"Detecting and stopping identity thieves is imperative to protecting your finances and financial reputation. Steve Weisman shows you how to protect yourself and what steps to take if you are victimized. This is a must-read for anyone with a bank account and a credit card!"
–Bonnie Bleidt, Boston Stock Exchange Reporter, CBS4 Boston, Host of Early Exchange, WBIX
Don't be a victim! Save your identity, save your credit–and save a fortune!
10,000,000 Americans had their identities stolen last year–don't be the next!
Discover easy steps you can take now to reduce your vulnerability.
Recognize "phishing" and other identity scams–online and off.
Learn what you must do immediately if you've been attacked.
Defend yourself against credit rip-offs, and stop paying more than you have to!
It's all here: simple rules, handy checklists, even easy-to-use form letters!
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THE AUTHOR
1. IDENTITY THEFT
- FTC Survey
- A Big Problem
- Terrorism and Identity Theft
- What Do Identity Thieves Do?
- Phishing—Go Phish
- How Do You Know That You Have Been a Victim of Phishing?
- What You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft
2. MAKING YOURSELF LESS VULNERABLE TO IDENTITY THEFT
- Lottery Scams
- Vote for Me
- Do Not Call
- Cell Phone Cameras
- A Danger in the Workplace
- Identity Theft and the ATM
- Identity Theft and Young People
- Mailboxes and Identity Theft
- More Tips for Making Yourself Safer from Identity Theft
3. DANGER ON THE COMPUTER AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
- What Can You Do About Spyware?
- Wi-Fi: Something New to Worry About
- What to Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
4. YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER—AN IDENTITY THIEF'S LUCKY NUMBER
- Driver's License
- When and Where Must You Provide Your Social Security Number?
- Should You Try to Get a New Social Security Number If Yours Has Been Used for Identity Theft?
- Restrictions on the Use of Social Security Numbers
- Not Even Safe After Death
- In the Navy
- Doctored Records
- New Definition of “Chutzpah”
- Workplace Identity Theft
- Higher Education and Identity Theft
5. CRIMINAL IDENTITY THEFT,TAXES—AND MORE ARRESTING PROBLEMS
- Criminal Misidentification
- What Should You Do If You Are the Victim of Criminal Identity Theft?
- Taxes and Identity Theft
- Identity Theft and Investments
- Deadly Results of Identity Theft
- Urban Myth
- Battling the Companies with Which You Do Business
- 6. TECHNOLOGY, BUSINESS, AND GOVERNMENT FIGHT IDENTITY THEFT
- 7. FINANCIAL PRIVACY PLEASE: THE GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT
8. CREDIT CARDS
- The History of Credit
- Plastic Man
- Don't Leave Home Without It
- Very Interesting
- Trivia That Can Win You a Bar Bet
- Other Terms with Which You Should Be Familiar
- Extra Card Benefits
9. FINE PRINT
- What Interest Rate Will You Pay?
- Diogenes Would Be Proud
- Late Fees
- Avoiding Late Fees
- The Ultimate Trap
- Is It Always a Good Deal Even If I Get the Advertised Rate?
- More Fine Print in the Balance Transfer Agreement
- Golden Rule—Credit Card Style
- The Only Thing Certain Is Change
- A Light at the End of the Tunnel
- A Few Things to Remember
- A Tip
- Their Holiday Gift to You
- Gambling with Your Credit Cards
- Fair Credit Billing Act
- Check the Address
- Critical Information
- Picky Little Detail
- Affect on Your Credit Rating
- What If the Investigation Rules Against You?
- Fine Print in Your Favor
- 10. PROTECTION FROM CREDIT DISCRIMINATION
11. CREDIT REPORTS
- Big Business
- How the System Works
- What Is in Your Credit Report?
- Who Has a Right to See Your Credit Report?
- Who Should Not Have Access to Your Credit Report?
- How Do I Obtain My Credit Report?
- Reviewing Your Credit Report
- Credit Scoring
- The No-Longer Secret Formula
- What's Your Score?
- Your Credit Limit
- Timing Is Everything
- Credit History
- Secured Credit Cards
- Credit Inquiries
- A Healthy Diet
- Retail Credit Cards
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
- Closed Accounts
- Canceling a Credit Card
- The Battle Against Aging
- How Do I Get My Credit Score?
- What Does It All Mean?
- Garbage In—Garbage Out
- What Can You Do to Improve Your Score?
12. CREDIT COUNSELING AND CREDIT REPAIR
- How Bad Is It?
Credit Counseling Agencies (CCAs)
- “I Have Always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers”
- Effect on Your Credit
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services
- Credit Repair Scams
- Promises to Keep
- Things to Watch Out For
- How You Can Get into Trouble: Or, If It Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
- Spam and Credit Repair
- Watch Out for That Helping Hand
- Non-Profit for Whom?
- Because That Is Where the Money Is
- The DebtWorks-Ballenger Group Conglomerate
- Debt Can Be Profitable
- The Cambridge-Brighton Conglomerate
- Fees, Fie, Foe, Fum
- Credit Counseling
- Legal Problems for AmeriDebt
- More Horror Stories
- There Ought to Be a Law
- Creditor Standards
- How Do You Choose a Credit Counseling Agency?
- What Do You Look For?
13. CONGRESS DEALS WITH CREDIT REPORTS AND IDENTITY THEFT: THE FAIR AND ACCURATE CREDIT TRANSACTIONS ACT
Major Provisions of FACT
- Free Credit Reports
- Reinvestigations Following Review of Free Credit Report
- Summary of Rights
- Fraud Alerts
- Blocking of Information
- Business Records Disclosure
- Red Flag Guidelines for New Accounts and Change of Address Verification
- Credit Card Number Truncation
- Social Security Number Truncation
- Banning of Collecting Debts Resulting from Identity Theft
- Mortgage Lenders Are Now Required to Provide Credit Scores and Other Credit-Related Information
- Other Disclosure of Credit Scores
- Single Notice of Furnishing Negative Information
- Risk-Based Pricing Notice
- Future Rules Regarding Accuracy and Integrity of Information
- Higher Standards for Providers of Information to Credit-Reporting Agencies
- The Right of Consumers to Dispute Inaccurate Information Directly with the Furnisher
- FTC Required to Report on Credit Report Complaints
- Disclosures of Results of Reinvestigation
- Notification of Address Discrepancy
- Future Studies of Ways to Improve FACT
- New Opt Out Rules for Prescreened Credit Offers
- New Opt Out Rules for Marketing Solicitations
- Study of Information Sharing
- Credit Scoring Study
- Establishment of the Financial Literacy Education Commission
- Preemption of State Laws
- Major Provisions of FACT
- 14. STEVE'S RULES
15. FORM LETTERS
- Letter to company with which you do business that has not been tainted by identity theft
- Letter to credit-reporting agency reporting identity theft
- Letter to business involved with identity theft
- Fair Credit Billing Act letter
- Letter of agreement to settle debt
- Letter requesting removal of credit inquiry from credit report
- Letter disputing information contained on credit report
- Follow-up letter to credit-reporting agency
- Opt out letter
- Letter transferring a balance on a credit card
- Letter to bank to close account following identity theft
- Letter to check-verification company
- Letter notifying bank of theft of ATM card
- Letter requesting an extended fraud alert
- Letter requesting blocking of information
- Letter to credit-reporting agencies requesting truncation of Social Security number
- Letter requesting re-aging of credit card account
- Letter canceling a credit card
- Second letter regarding canceling of credit card
- Record of Identity Theft Communications
- Credit Bureaus—Report Fraud
- Banks, Credit Card Issuers, and Other Creditors
- Law Enforcement Authorities—Report Identity Theft
- Title: 50 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY AND YOUR CREDIT EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT, CREDIT CARDS, CREDIT REPAIR, AND CREDIT REPORTS
- Release date: January 2005
- Publisher(s): PH Professional Business
- ISBN: 013146759X