In 2012, approximately 16.6 million individuals (or 7% of the population) over the age or 16 were victims of identity theft in the United States according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increasing number of security breaches occurring just in the past few months has made it imperative that consumers take precautions to safeguard their private information and to know where to turn and steps to take if they become victims themselves. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website has an Identity Theft guide which provides useful and detailed information for victims and tips for those who would like to safeguard their identity. Specific sections (e.g. initial steps to take if you are a victim; what to do later in the process; how to safeguard your identity and different types of identity theft) are presented in an easy to understand format with helpful checklists to simplify the process.
News from the Reference Desk
Earlier this year, Illinois enacted the Employee Credit Privacy Act, which prohibits the use of credit histories or credit reports in making employment decisions. As with most employment laws, the Act doesn't apply to all employers or all employees, so please take a look at what the law requires.
You are entitled to request one free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. While prices may vary when requesting a credit score from these or other companies, the score is an additional cost and is not included in the free credit report unless ordered.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Request a fraud alert online, or call 1-888-766-0008
2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Request a fraud alert online: email@example.com or 800-680-7289
955 American Lane
Schaumburg, IL 60173
To add a fraud alert or 888-397-3742
Sun-Times columnist, Terry Savage, recommends Consumer Credit Counseling Services (800-388-2227) for helpful advice to review your credit history or debt issues.
Another of our MoneySmart Week programs, Getting Through Tough Financial Times, had some useful information we wanted to share with you from the University of Illinois Extension.
New rules governing credit card companies went in to effect Monday, February 22, 2010. To find out how the new laws will affect you, the Federal Citizen Information Center created these summaries and explanations:
- A good place to start – the Gov Gab blog entry on the subject
- Learn about the new features on your credit card statement, calculate how long it’ll take to pay off your card balance and more on the new interactive Credit Cards website from the Federal Reserve Board
- Besides changes in credit statements, your prepaid gift cards will experience some adjustments as well, including extended expiration dates and limits on fees