APMacro: PF Identity Theft Tip Sheet

Protect your personal information. Don’t think that Identity Theft cannot happen to you.

Be alert to these red flags

  • You start to receive junk mail such as pre-approved credit card applications.
  • You receive unfamiliar bank, credit card or other financial statements in your name.
  • A collection agency notifies you that you have delinquent accounts.
  • Transactions show up on your bank or credit card statements that you can’t identify.
  • You apply for a driver’s license and find that someone already has one in your name.
  • You are denied applications for student loans or credit cards.
  • Your credit report shows names you have never used or incorrect addresses.
  • You are arrested for a crime you did not commit.

Prevention Tips

  • Be careful about giving out personal information in person, over the telephone, and online.
  • Be careful about downloading music or other items on the computer.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you store on your cell phone and use your phone’s security features such as key lock so others cannot gain access.
  • Do not apply for multiple credit cards; set credit limits as low as possible on cards you have.
  • Monitor credit and bank account activity.
  • Shred documents with personal information before throwing them in the trash.
  • Protect computers, telephones, and MP3 players with strong passwords, ones that are difficult to guess such as a combination of numbers and letters.  Do not use your mother’s maiden name or other identifying information that is easy for someone to guess.
  • Lock your computer so that others cannot gain access.
  • Never carry your Social Security card in a wallet or purse.
  • Be alert to your surroundings when using ATM machines.  Protect your PIN; memorize it rather than writing it down and carrying it in your wallet.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell adults who ask for your Social Security number, driver’s license number or credit card information that you are not comfortable giving it out and you want to know how they will use it and how they will protect it.
  • Do not put your Social Security number on your resume.
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended.
  • Request a free copy of your credit report.

What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft

  • Make a police report.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit record by calling one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax: 1-888-766-0008, Experian: 1-888-397-3742, Transunion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Make a report to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).
  • Close accounts that have been tampered with.
  • Go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your credit report once a year. (parents must request the copy for children under 13 years of age)
  • Visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org and click on “Teen Space” to find tips and resources.

What if the identity thief is a family member or a friend?  
That situation may have more of an emotional impact on you as the victim and make it difficult to go forward with reporting the crime and prosecuting the thief.  You may feel betrayed and question your trust in others.  You may not want to report the crime because you fear others will criticize you or you may feel guilty about putting a family member or friend in jail.  The thief has put you in a difficult position and showed a lack of concern for the impact this crime may have on you.  You have three choices in these cases:

Pay the debt yourself.
If you pay the debt, any negative information on your credit report will remain there for seven years. There is a risk of harming your credit if you choose to do this.

Work with creditors to see if you can resolve the situation without making a police report
If the thief agrees to pay the debt you can contact the creditors and discuss the situation with them.  Understand that many creditors will not agree to transfer the responsibility of the debt to the thief and are not required to do so.  You may still be liable for the debt if the thief stops making payments.

Make a police report.
When you make a report you get all the protections afforded victims of identity theft under federal and state laws.  If you don’t make a report you may have a harder time convincing the credit card companies that you were not involved in the debt.

You will have to choose which action to take.  It may benefit you to speak with a professional to help you make your decision and work through the process.



Gov: Congress Lawmaking Review

The lawmaking process in Congress is fairly straightforward. It is a struggle involving many traditions, rules, and competing interests. Most measures that actually becomes law often bears little resemblance to the bill that was first introduced.

  • Standing committees and their subcommittees do most of the work of Congress. Directed by powerful committee chairs, these committees study, revise, and sometimes completely rewrite bills.
  • The majority party leaders in each chamber direct the flow of bills through the process of debate, amendment, and voting.
  • The House of Representatives, because of its large size, restricts debate. The Senate allows unlimited debate.
  • Before a bill goes to the president, both chambers must pass it in identical form.
  • The president can choose to sign a bill into law or veto it. To save a vetoed bill, both chambers of Congress must pass it again, but this time by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.