03 Oct Safeguard your Financial & Personal Info
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“SAFEGUARD YOUR PERSONAL & FINANCIAL INFO”
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams Acting Program
Here we are in October of 2019, and Halloween is just around the corner! Now is a good time to think about what costume you’ll wear to the Halloween party at your local senior center. And now is always a good time to think about how we can protect ourselves from fraudsters who are out to steal our identity, our hard earned cash, and our retirement funds! It’s vital to safeguard personal and financial information. Here are some important tips from the California Department of Business Oversight¹ on what to do if your personal or financial information is compromised.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
The first thing to do if you believe you are a victim of identity theft is to report it to your local police department. If the theft includes loss of finances from a bank or credit union, immediately report the loss to those financial institutions. The FTC recommends you take these actions:
- Create an identity theft report
- Post an initial fraud alert with one of the following national credit bureaus:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
- Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 (toll free) to request free credit reports from the above agencies. Note: You can make one request each year and get all 3 reports at the same time at no charge.
- You might want to consider placing an extended fraud alert, or putting a freeze on your credit.
IF ATM, CREDIT, OR DEBIT CARD IS LOST OR STOLEN
Immediately report the card loss or theft to the card issuer. Most companies have toll-free phone numbers available 24/7 for these emergencies. Once the loss or theft of your ATM or Debit card has been reported, you cannot be held liable for any unauthorized charges per federal law.
IF ATM CARD, BANK ACCOUNT INFO, OR CHECKS HAVE BEEN LOST OR STOLEN
Notify your credit union or bank ASAP to stop payments and ask them to contact their check verification company. It’s always a good idea to follow-up in writing, using first class, certified mail with a return receipt. And keep a copy for your records. Also, either change your passwords or close the account. If you close the account, you will need to open a new account with a new password. If your checks have been stolen or lost, contact these check verification companies:
- ChexSystems 1-800-428-9623
- TeleCheck 1-800-710-9898
- SCAN 1-800-262-7771
IF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS STOLEN
If you believe someone else may be using your Social Security number, go to the U.S. Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 (toll-free).
IDENTITY THEFT RESOURCES
The California Office of Attorney General www.oag.ca.gov/idtheft
The FTC Identity Theft toll-free hotline 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or www.ftc.gov
If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080. For more info regarding California SMP, go to www.cahealthadvocates.org.
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
¹ California Department of Business Oversight, Protect Yourself From Fraud Booklet, pg. 16 – 17.
*Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Save the Date – SSSAP will be performing (free) on Saturday September 14th at 2pm in the Donald Bruce Kaufman Brentwood Branch Library, 11820 San Vicente Blvd., LA, CA 90049. Also, SSSAP, along with Amanda Jacoby, has launched a new PSA called “Just Hang Up!” To view the new PSA, please visit the SSSAP Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Save the Date – SSSAP performs (free): April 9, 9:45-11:30 am, Our Lady of Lourdes, Stroup Hall, 18400 Kinzie Street, Northridge, CA 91325. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.