Safe Families

Jul 31, 2014 10:22 AM

What do I do if my identity is stolen?

Acadiana was recently hit by an automated scam phone message stating the recipient's MidSouth Bank debit card has been deactivated - even if you didn't have a MidSouth Bank account. From the calls the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana received, thousands were made by crooks wanting to access your personal information and steal bank funds.

This isn't the first bank robocall scam. Acadiana has been the subject of many of these types of scams through the years. Most banks will not ask you to give your debit card number, expiration or personal identification number.

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana has been asked many times: What's a robocall? If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall.

Some robocalls are allowed by law but if the recording is a sales message and you haven't given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam. One thing is for sure: Crooks don't care if the call is illegal.

BBB has received more inquiries than ever concerning robocalls and other scams offered by home telephone as well as cellphones. We are receiving more calls because of technology. According to the Federal Trade Commission companies are using auto dialers that can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost.

The companies that use this technology don't bother to screen for numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry. If a company doesn't care about obeying the law, you can be sure they're trying to scam you.

The BBB and the FTC suggests if you get a robocall:

· Hang up the phone - Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
· Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number, and whether they charge for that service. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund.

So how do you know? Clues that someone has stolen your information:

· You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can't explain.
· You don't get your bills or other mail.
· Merchants refuse your checks.· Debt collectors call you about debts that aren't yours.
· You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
· Medical providers bill you for services you didn't use.
· Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you've reached your benefits limit.
· A health plan won't cover you because your medical records show a condition you don't have.
· The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for.· You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

If you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:

Contact TransUnion Fraud Alert Assistance at (800) 680-7289 to put a fraud alert on your credit report. They must tell the other two companies. An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. The alert lasts 90 days but you can renew it.

Create an identity theft report at the Federal Trade Commission ftc.gov or call them at 877-438-4338. Go to your local police department or the police department where the theft occurred. If you suspect that someone is misusing your personal information, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage. Setting things straight involves some work.

Start with Trust®. Check with the Better Business Bureau before doing business. BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

 

 

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