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Posted: 07/19/10

Thanks for the Bad Credit Mom and Dad!!

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Now why didn’t I see this one coming?  The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article today about young people being denied employment after a background check reveals problems on their credit report.  What’s worse? It was their beloved parents who committed identity theft and caused the problem.  Check out this story below.

Child Identity Theft Increases- Atlanta Journal Constitution

Many face credit troubles at the hands of family members being dashed because they are unwitting victims of identity theft at the hands of someone they know, usually their parents.

It often happens when victims are too young to do anything about it, so it’s a crime that can go undetected for years.

A parent or other relative uses a child’s personal information, including Social Security number, to get a credit card, loan or other account with a clean credit record. That’s identity fraud in Georgia.

When the child enters the business and financial world as an adult, he encounters debt he knows nothing about

“They won’t be able to get a credit card. Or if the debt owed is disproportionate to their earnings, then they can’t get loans. It’s difficult to get a car,” said Michelle Jones, senior vice president of counseling for CredAbility. The Atlanta-based nonprofit, provides credit counseling and education across the Southeast.

“And when you are applying for car insurance or applying for a job, people look at your credit score. The worst case scenario … you have a young adult who is facing filing for bankruptcy on a debt that they never personally incurred,” Jones said.

The Federal Trade Commission’s figures on identity theft show Georgia ranking seventh nationwide for the highest number of complaints over the last three years. FTC breakdowns by age show about a quarter of the complaints come from 20- to 29-year-olds. But there’s no way to say how many are from parent identity theft.

Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs spokesman Bill Cloud believes cases of child identity theft have multiplied substantially in the last few years. Identity theft is a felony in Georgia.

“It’s a growing problem,” said Cloud, who said about 3 percent of identity theft victims in 2003 were children. That number increased to about 5 percent in 2006.

They do provide some advice for those who think their identity has been stolen.

  • Check credit files. Minor children shouldn’t have credit files unless their information has been pilfered.
  • Each credit bureau has its own procedure. For TransUnion: send an e-mail to childidtheft@transunion.com with relevant identifying information, and the company will confirm if it has a file. For Experian: visit www.experian.com/fraud or call 1-800-311-4769. For both these agencies and Equifax, follow these instructions on what to send to order a child’s report: bit.ly/aDFTi1
  • Adults can order their own copies from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax through www.annualcreditreport.com , the federally-created Web site that allows free reports once a year.
  • File a police report using the information from your credit reports as evidence. Victims can provide a printed copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s Universal Complaint Form to the law enforcement agency to incorporate into the police report. Find the form online: bit.ly/bN25VL
  • Call all companies or collection agencies listed on your credit report that you haven’t personally opened. Ask them to send you a copy of the application and transaction records. You must send a police report with this request.
  • If you have a police report listing all the fraudulent accounts, the credit bureaus must block the fraudulent accounts from your credit reports within 30 days.

Job seekers are also encouraged to conduct a personal background check on themselves at sites like TransparentMe.com

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Posted: 03/31/10

ID theft hits more than 3 million college students

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Great tips about how to protect yourself from identity theft.  One thing they leave out? Do a background check on yourself! Don’t let a few dollars stop you from getting that first job out of college.

More than 3.3 million college students may have been victimized by a computer data theft at a Minnesota company that handles federal student loans.

According to a story over the weekend in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, thieves stole the data earlier this month from ECMC. The company was founded 16 years ago as Educational Credit Management Corp.

The company said the stolen data include names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Zendough.com, a consumer-oriented identity theft firm operated by TransUnion, offers the following tips on how to reduce the risk of identity theft.

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Posted: 02/25/10

FTC: Identity Theft Is No. 1 Consumer Complaint

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This story is another great reason to conduct a background check on yourself before going to that job interview.   Identity theft is one of the causes for mis-information on a background check.  Imagine the embarrassment?

Are you really you? It’s hard to say.

That’s because identity theft was the top consumer complaint for 2009, the Federal Trade Commission reported Wednesday.

It was also the top complaint from the year before, although 5 percent fewer consumers reported it in 2009, the commission said.

Overall, of the 1.3 million complaints the agency received last year, 21 percent were for identity theft. Debt collection agencies ranked second, with 9 percent of complaints, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book released Wednesday.

Credit card fraud was the top complaint when it comes to identity theft, followed by fraud related to government benefits, utilities, phones and loans.

The FTC did not verify the complaints lodged with it. It said 72 percent of those reporting identity theft also notified a police department.

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Posted: 02/12/10

Has Your Identity Been Compromised?

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Identity theft is one of the leading causes of job seekers not getting gainful employment.  Did you know that a criminal record may exist as part of your persona and it wasn’t even you who committed the crime? Running a background check on yourself before an employer does can help break the mystique of why you were not given a job!

Identity theft reached new high in 2009, report says

The number of identity fraud victims in the United States increased 12 percent to 11.1 million adults in 2009, a report released Wednesday shows.

The financial impact of the frauds increased by 12.5 percent to a stunning $54 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

The research firm’s 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report also found that measures to protect consumers and businesses from fraud are helping.

Average fraud resolution time dropped 30 percent to 21 hours, and nearly half of new victims file police reports. The results: a doubling of arrests, a tripling of prosecutions and a doubling in the percentage of convictions in 2009.

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