Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Wilhoite’s Review of District Identity Theft Meeting On Thursday, March 27, at the Hamilton United Methodist Church, Mr. Mike Hassell, Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist and a residence of District 29 was invited by Council Lady Vivian Wilhoite to speak to the community about Identity Theft and “How Not to Be a Victim.” This was the second meeting on Identity Theft held in District 29. Council Lady Wilhoite says, “If you missed this informational meeting, Mike Hassell established this Q & A that was presented at the meeting that can assist you in knowing more about Identity Theft and what you can do to protect yourself. You can never do too much to protect yourself and your family.” 1. What are the five common types of Identity Theft? Driver License – Social Security Number – Medical – Character/Criminal – Financial. 2. An Extended Fraud Alert remains on a consumer’s credit file for what length of time, unless cancelled prior? 7 years. 3. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, at what frequency are consumers entitled to receive a free copy of their credit file? Once every 12 months from each bureau. 4. A fraud alert placed on a consumer credit file prevents all credit grantor's from extending credit without first contacting the consumer. Answer: False. 5. “Opting Out” of direct mail marketing lists will not stop junk mail solicitations that are generically addressed to ‘Postal Patron’, ‘Occupant’, or ‘Resident’. True. 6. Small businesses are exempt from data and information privacy laws regarding non-public and personally-identifiable consumer information. False. 7. Potential Identity Theft and related risks to employees at the workplace include: a. Unsecured employee and personnel files b. Termination for erroneous “undisclosed” criminal convictions c. Use of the employee’s Social Security number as an identifier| d. Distraction and diminished attention to detail resulting in costly mistakes, poor job performance, or increased risk of workplace injuries e. Theft of information or belongings by other employees 8. Credit monitoring services are an effective means of alerting the consumer if someone has obtained a driver’s license, birth certificate, Social Security card, or other such documents or identification in their name. False. Credit is only 28% of Identity Theft. 9. A true Identity Theft service should address all aspects of restoring the victim’s identity, both financial and non-financial. Restoration. 10. Services that provide Identity Theft “resolution”, “recovery”, or “restoration” services require a limited Power of Attorney in order to communicate with creditors and others on behalf of the victim. True. 11. Most Identity Theft resolution services provide assistance with both financial and non-financial aspects of an Identity Theft incident. False. 12. Only an individual can be a victim of Identity Theft. False. 13. What are some of the illegal techniques used to obtain identity information? Take mail from mailbox. Divert mail to another location by filling out a change of address form. Go through trash and find identification and financial documents. Access credit reports by posing as landlords or employers. Hack into personal computers. Pose as legitimate companies or government agencies to request personal information via email. Steal hard copy or electronic files from your workplace. Stand close at the ATM to learn your Personal Identification Number. Work at restaurants, gas stations, or other businesses to steal money or information from credit/ATM/debit cards. 14. Once identify thieves have your personal information, they may use it to: Charge on existing credit accounts. Open new credit accounts in your name. Use existing or open new checking accounts in your name and write bad checks. Establish phone or wireless service in your name. Use your debit cards or counterfeit checks to drain your checking account. Take out loans to buy cars and other big ticket items. 15. What are some ways to secure your personal information? Shred all pre-approved credit offers, account statements and financial documents before disposing of them. Do not carry your Social Security Card. Have a locked, secured mailbox. Do not have your Social Security or driver license numbers printed on checks. Review credit reports annually. Carry only those cards you use. Review monthly credit card statements before paying them.’ Buy only from secure websites. Never reveal personal information unless you initiate the contact and know exactly who you are dealing with. Have up-to-date virus protection software installed on your computer. Never store personal and financial information on your laptop. Know what to do and who to contact in case your wallet is stolen. Have copies of all credit cards stored in a safe place. Change your passwords regularly. Please contact Vivian Wilhoite, Councilmember, District 29 at or email her from or 589-2003 regarding this release. Mike Hassell is a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist and can be reached at 642-1113.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vivian, Sorry that I could not attend the meeting. This is great information! What an awesome blog. I will definitely share this with the neighborhood watch group we are forming. Maybe we can invite Mr. Hassell to one of our future meetings. Call me when you get a chance.