COVID 19: ID Theft

by Jun 15, 2020Identity Theft

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ID Theft Protection

Contact 1-888-397-3742 and follow the prompts to place either a ‘fraud alert’ or a ‘security freeze’. A fraud alert will protect your credit reports for a six-month period. A security freeze will freeze your credit up to 10 years. The difference between these two services is a fraud alert is temporary for a short period of time, and a freeze is more permanent for a longer period. With either one of these services if you apply for a loan, or credit card you will need to lift the alert or freeze in order to proceed with qualifying for a new line of credit. With a security freeze you will receive a ‘pin code’ for each bureau. When you receive it keep it in a safe place since you will need to reference that pin number to unfreeze your credit if applying for a credit card or loan. With a fraud alert you will need to contact each bureau (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) in order to lift the fraud alert for a short period while getting approved for a credit card or loan.

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COVID 19: ID Theft

I recently received a text that looked legitimate from ‘Wells Fargo’ stating that my card was blocked due to unsuspicious activity. When I called the 1-888 number I noticed that the automated message sounded sketchy. The automated message said that due to unauthorized transactions that Wells Fargo has blocked my card for further usage. In order to proceed with removing this block it requested for my full debit card number. I immediately hung up the phone and called Wells Fargo directly.

From my experience whenever there is a financial crisis identity theft is on the rise. Perpetrators know that when a consumer is in a financially unstable state that they are able to get away with a lot more since we are preoccupied with other important things in our lives. Please remember that your credit is valuable and important. Do not let anyone take advantage of your credit or financial status. If you believe that your debit card has been compromised contact your banking institution immediately and report the problem.

Your Consumer Rights:

Remember that filing a police report is important for your credit, but it is equally important that you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding your experience as a victim of Identity Theft. By doing this you will give the FTC the information needed to investigate and hopefully stop the perpetrators from doing this to someone else. Go to this link to file your complaint today:

Phone Scams

If phone calls or texts are coming from a perpetrator trying to steal your identity you will want to immediately block that phone call, contact your cell phone provider, and request for either a Anti Virus protection plan or Spyware.

ATT has a app called, AT&T Mobile Security & Call Protect. They have basic coverage which is free or a paid service which is $3.99 a month. This basic service is a great way to monitor your spam calls or texts and report it to AT&T for investigation. It also begins to categorize these calls as ‘Spam’ in order to eliminate unwanted calls or texts. Protecting your credit is more complex.  The first thing is to pull a ‘free’ credit report with Only pull a ‘free’ credit report and do not purchase your credit scores at that time, it is not necessary.

Once you get access to your ‘free’ credit reports with Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union keep a pdf copy for yourself. Each bureau will provide a report number or file number on the top left or top right-hand corner. Keep this number for safe keeping. You can re-use this number to pull a free credit report each month by inputting your report number or file when reviewing a new credit report that month. Then you will want to review your credit reports to make sure that within the last 24 months no one that you did not permit to pull credit has done so.

Unauthorized Inquiries

If you see unauthorized inquiries from a bank, creditor, lender, utility company, or cell phone provider you will want to notate that immediately as ID Theft. Then review your entire credit report to confirm that your credit reflects only debts that belong to you. Keep record of any debts that you may believe are fraudulent. If you have a credit card, car loan, payday loan, medical debt, mortgage loan, utility debt, cell phone debt, insurance debt, or student loan that does not belong to you you will want to immediately categorize it as ID Theft. Then you will want to contact your local police department by phone and file an ID Theft Police Report.

Filing a Police Report

Include everything you saw on your credit report that you believe was due to Identity theft so that you can begin an investigation with your local police department. Keep a copy of this police report for your dispute process. The next step is to contact each creditor or lender and request to speak to the ‘fraud investigation’ department. Once you speak to a representative begin a fraud investigation immediately. Then take a copy of your police report and contact each bureau by phone and begin the dispute process with them. Let them know you have a copy of your police report just in case they want a copy of that report. It will take the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) 30-45 days for this investigation to be completed. If you notice that debts were not removed from this process contact us for expert assistance.

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