Category Archives: News

Identity theft nightmares: ‘It’s the fear of losing money’

Identity theft nightmares: ‘It’s the fear of losing money’

Freezing your credit after Equifax hack…not so easy

For many years, Pam Giltner and her husband refused to use credit.

As a victim of identity theft more than 20 years ago, when several retail cards were opened in her name and checks written from her account, Giltner, 69, spent years rebuilding her financial life.

When she learned that she was one of the 145 million Americans affected by the recent Equifax data breach, in which personal and financial data were accessed including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, she was cast back to the fear, frustration and anger she felt as a victim of identity fraud.

Now, she has trouble sleeping at night.

“It’s the fear of losing money,” says Giltner, a retired registered nurse in Albia, Iowa. “And the fear I might have to go through this all over again.”

That’s why she was crying in her banker’s office. She hadn’t lost any money yet, but she was afraid she might.

“We don’t have a lot of money,” she said, which is why she went in to ask about protecting her savings account. Her 50th wedding anniversary is coming up and (more…)

Look For Identity Theft Signs

Look For Identity Theft Signs

09/27/2017 08:40 am ET


We’re All At Risk

In today’s interconnected and automated world, Americans are at an increased risk for identity theft simply from the number of transactions that take place – many of which you never see and only briefly review, if you ever review them at all.

Thanks to the recent massive data breach at Equifax, Americans are at greater risk than ever before. The volume of exposed information makes it more likely that crooks will be able to open fraudulent new accounts in your name and drain your existing ones. Outside protection services can help, but nothing is 100% guaranteed – therefore it’s important that you keep a close eye on all of your accounts and look for anything unusual.

Credit, Financial, and Medical

Common red flags indicating fraud include:

  • Statement for credit accounts you didn’t open
  • Credit report errors
  • Collection notices for unfamiliar credit accounts or medical bills
  • Increase in your credit card APR
  • Denials of loans or other lines of credit
  • Bills for items or services that you didn’t purchase or insurance
  • Explanations of Benefits (EOB) for medical procedures that you didn’t receive
  • Unusual health-related communications (notices from doctors or treatment centers that you don’t recognize (more…)

Credit firms skip hearing on identity theft, data breach

Credit firms skip hearing on identity theft, data breach

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 3:18 PM

Freezing Your Credit Isn’t Enough to Prevent Identity Theft. This Is What You Need to Do

Freezing Your Credit Isn’t Enough to Prevent Identity Theft. This Is What You Need to Do
A credit freeze protects you from having new accounts opened in your name, but there are other types of identity theft you still need to watch out for.
CREDIT: Getty Images
  • Over 4 billion personal records were stolen last year alone — before the Equifax breach.
  • Only 4% of identity-theft victims in 2014 had a new account opened in their name, which a credit freeze protects against.
  • However, freezing your credit will not prevent the most common type of identity theft: misuse of current accounts.

In the wake of the Equifax breach, identity-theft horror stories have been easy to come by.

The solution, according to many experts, is freezing your credit — something hardly anyone has done.

But a credit freeze protects only against new accounts being opened in your name — one of the rarest types of identity theft out there, affecting only 4% of victims, according to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics data.

It’s not because criminals haven’t had access to Social Security numbers before.

2015 data breach at the health-insurance company Anthem exposed the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of 80 million people. A class-action lawsuit was settled this summer, awarding up to $50 to (more…)

“I am you”: Hear hacker’s threats to victim of identity theft


“I am you”: Hear hacker’s threats to victim of identity theft

LOS ANGELES — Americans have been scrambling for weeks to protect their credit reports after Equifax revealed it had been hacked, leaving 143 million vulnerable to identity theft.

So, what happens if thieves get hold of your personal information?

IT specialist Art Damiao’s nightmare began when a hacker called him after breaking into his personal email.

“He said, ‘I am the hacker that’s in control of your email right now,'” 36-year-old Damiao told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. “He said, ‘I have all your information,’ and I said, ‘OK, what’s my Social Security?'”

“He started reading it back to be,” Damiao said.

“And he was correct?” Werner asked.


Art Damiao


“I didn’t let him finish,” Damiao said.

Damiao hung up, but the high-tech intruder then called again, leaving a voicemail message demanding ransom.

“Hello Mr. Damiao, you will not get your email address back, you will need to contact me and give me the amount of $300 via bitcoin,” the message said. “I also have your Social Security number, your driver’s license number, front and back. I can basically pretend to be you right now. I am you.”

“I was terrified,” Damiao said. (more…)

Targeted by Identity Thieves? Here Are 8 Red Flags to Look Out For

Targeted by Identity Thieves? Here Are 8 Red Flags to Look Out For

Original image


Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Luckily, there are steps you can take to head off some of this fraudulent activity. Stay alert, check your credit report often, and thwart thieves early to minimize damage and avert disaster. Here are eight red flags to look out for to help you avoid identity theft.


If you don’t recognize charges or withdrawals, someone may have stolen your account info. Even if you only notice a very small amount of difference, call your bank immediately and tell them you suspect your account has been compromised.

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Someone may have changed the contact information on your accounts or filed a change of address with the postal service, which would keep you in the dark on your statements. Visit your accounts’ web pages often to stay up-to-date on charges. Keep your mailing address current and shred all of your mail.

3. (more…)

Protecting yourself from identity theft: An explainer–tms–savingsgctnzy-a20170919-20170919-story.html

Protecting yourself from identity theft: An explainer

Anya Kamenetz, Tribune Content AgencyThe Savings Game

I want to take this space to explain a little more about the various steps one can take to guard against theft of your money or identity, because it’s been in the news so much lately, and I know it can all be confusing.

First, what are we afraid of here? Three things:

1) A thief uses your existing credit card numbers to buy things.

2) Someone impersonates you and opens up new credit accounts or takes out loans in your name.

3) Someone uses your personal information to file a tax return and claim a refund.

In some ways, straightforward credit card fraud is the least frightening. That’s because the credit card companies have gotten very good at flagging charges that are out of the ordinary in any way, and those charges can be reversed when you respond quickly. When I bought gas on a recent trip to New Jersey, the credit card company wanted to make sure it was really me, because I lived in Brooklyn and don’t own a car. It’s also important to look at your own statements each month for charges you don’t recognize, even tiny ones.

The second possibility (more…)

Should you worry about identity theft?

Should you worry about identity theft?

Laws in India regarding data protection may be weak, but following basic cyber hygiene rules can make your own defences stronger


Earlier this month, US-based credit information company Equifax Inc. said its systems had been struck by a cybersecurity incident that may have affected about 143 million US consumers. A report by Bloomberg said the incident could be ranked among one of the largest data breaches in history. The intruders accessed names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s licence numbers and also credit card numbers, Equifax said in a statement.

While this reiterates what cyber security professionals say, that nothing is hack proof, it does remind us of the range of cyber crimes, which revolve around identity theft and frauds. It gives us a chance to reflect upon how well prepared we are, if a cyber attack strikes us, or if our personally (more…)

Yes, your child could be a victim of identity theft

Yes, your child could be a victim of identity theft

By MoneyTips

Could your child have a credit report even if he or she has never used a credit card or borrowed money? It’s possible when identity theft is involved.

Your child’s Social Security number (SSN) may be exposed in a number of ways — school records and medical records are just two common examples. Any time your child’s SSN is entered on a form and stored in a new location, one more avenue is established for identity thieves potentially to access the SSN. By pairing your child’s valid SSN with a different birth date, thieves can open fraudulent accounts without your knowledge.

This type of fraud is particularly insidious because it can go undetected for many years. You may not realize fraud has taken place until your child reaches early adulthood and applies for student loans, car loans or other forms of credit. By then, the damage is extensive and difficult to repair.

Most parents wouldn’t think to review their child’s credit report. Unless unexplained bills, collections calls or IRS notices show up, why would you even expect a credit report to exist?

That’s the very reason why you should (more…)

Your next worry after the Equifax breach: Fake tax returns

Your next worry after the Equifax breach: Fake tax returns

  • Tax-related identity theft is one of the IRS “Dirty Dozen” top tax scams.
  • Victims of the Equifax breach may not qualify for IRS ID-theft precautions like an identity protecting PIN.
  • Getting organized now can help you file your return earlier next year.

Your next worry after the Equifax breach: Fake tax returns

Your next worry after the Equifax breach: Fake tax returns  

After the Equifax data breach, year-end tax planning may be even more important.

Social Security numbers were among the data exposed in the Equifax hack, which affects up to 143 million people. Immediate to-dos have focused on fraud alerts, credit freezes and monitoring to curtail thieves’ ability to open new accounts in victims’ names. But experts say consumers should also start thinking ahead to tax season — when criminals could potentially use those stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and snare refunds.

“This is going to be an ongoing problem,” said Tim Gagnon, an associate teaching professor of accounting at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Having a credit freeze or other monitoring in place doesn’t prevent tax-related identity theft, which is among the top scams on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” list. The agency estimates that during (more…)