Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Warning signs that a consumer's identity is compromised

AOL has a story from “Walletpop” this morning (Sept 30) of four signs to look for that your identity could be compromised

(1) You don’t get credit card bills when you expect them. That’s a sign that a thief could be using your account. One antidote is to monitor your credit card accounts online

(2) You get credit cards you didn’t apply for. Normally, this could mean a thief has tried to emulate you but has been sloppy, so you get the mailing. My own plan on this website would force institutions to notify you at a “preferred address” when an account is opened in your name, but it can happen accidentally now.

(3) You are denied credit despite the fact you think you have a good history. Check your own credit reports once a year (free) at "Annual Credit Report") with Trans Union, Experian and Equfiax. The last of these companies will expect you to wait a full year before giving you the free report again.

(4) You get calls from collectors (either first party collectors from vendors, or third party collection agencies) for purchases you did not make. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA) you have certain rights, and can dispute the call immediately if not valid. Don’t allow a collector to threaten to sue you; that’s illegal. You definitely have rights under this law.

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