YOUR Information First
December 2007 / issue #8

In this issue:

Holiday Tips
Feature Article
Latest ID Theft News
Scam Central
More Resources

HOLIDAY TIPS 

Protect Your Identity and Bank Account by Shopping Wisely

As you shop for those last minute gifts, follow these tips so you can give without being taken this holiday season:

1. Before you purchase any gift from an advertisement you received via email, confirm that the website actually belongs to that merchant. Better yet, type in the URL to a merchant’s website yourself instead of clicking on links in unsolicited emails.

2.  Make purchases only from merchants you've used before or that have good reputations. This will help you avoid the fly-by-night companies and online auction merchants who are out to victimize weary and unsuspecting shoppers.

3. Shop using a credit card, instead of your debit card. Credit cards help protect your bank account in the event your merchandise does not arrive or if you incur fraudulent charges because of identity theft or a scam.

4. To protect yourself even further, use "controlled payment numbers" or "virtual account numbers," for your online purchases. Many financial institutions now offer these one-time use credit card numbers to their customers.

FEATURE ARTICLE 

Embrace the New Year and Your Financial Health by Protecting Your Identity in 2008
By Mark Pribish

According to Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia), “ a New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to project a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.  The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day and remain until the set goal has been achieved, although many resolutions go unachieved and are often broken fairly shortly after they are set.”

That said, the start of 2008 is a new opportunity for you to embrace some positive changes in your life – as well as an opportunity to embrace and protect your identity.

Standard New Year resolutions typically include new goals relating to physical fitness, weight loss, improving your personal finances and savings, spending more time with the family, professional development, changing careers, and more.

However, a common oversight – especially with personal finances – is resolving to protect your identity and the identity of family members.

Identity theft is a real problem for both consumers and business – and while individuals have little to no control over how a business is securing their personal identifying information – consumers can take control and resolve to be proactive in protecting their identity.

>>Read On...

SCAM CENTRAL  

Beware of the "Charity Scam" 

At this time of year, scammers are looking to take advantage of consumers’ giving spirits by posing as representatives of charitable organizations that are real, or are fake, but sound real. The scams typically involve nationally recognized charities aiding well-known causes, or local groups handling problems closer to home.

How It Works:
Through their emotionally-charged appeals at shopping malls, over the phone or through the internet, these scammers collect donations from consumers to use for their own purposes. Most of the time the consumer never realizes their money did not reach the legitimate charity or cause.

Your Defense:
1. Do not supply your personal or credit card information via the phone or internet if you did not initiate the call or are unsure about the reputation of the “charity”. Additionally, do not write checks payable to an individual solicitor and if you've never heard of an organization, confirm for yourself that it's real.
2. Whether you're contacted by email, telephone or in person,  be very wary of high-pressure pitches.
3. If a "charity" representative will not or can not answer reasonable questions, such as how they will spend your donation, think twice about giving them your money.

If you believe you have been victimized by this type of scam, contact a Recovery Advocate at 866.SMART68 today.

MORE RESOURCES

Are you at risk? Take our ID theft quiz
Family Safety Fact Sheet
Video: Delivering Justice

We've got you covered.  

To speak to a professional Recovery Advocate please call:

1.866.Smart68 (1.866.762.7868)


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