With the increased use of online shopping and many brick and mortar stores not having done enough to protect the consumer information stored on their servers. Anyone of us could be a victim of identity theft. It has happened more often than we would like to know. Last year it happened at Target and few other businesses. Below is the information you may find helpful on how to determine if you have become a victim. Below is the information on how to determine if you have become a victim. In addition, should you determine that your identity has been compromised; we have included recommended steps you may want to take to start the process of restoring your good name. For your convenience, we have included sample letters and forms you can use as guides for contacting various agencies regarding the identity fraud. (NZ4VCB6JK6N3)
How Can I Tell if I am a Victim of Identity Theft?
Monitor the balances of your financial accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals. Other indications of identity theft can be:
• Failing to receive bills or mail when expected could mean an address change bythe identity thief;
• Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply;
• Denial of credit for no apparent reason; or
• Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
Order a copy of your credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. If at this time you feel you may be a victim, you should initiate a fraud alert. Once you receive your report, review it for accuracy. If you find inaccurate information, check your reports from the other two credit bureaus. Of course some inaccuracies could be because of clerical, computer, or other errors and may not be a result of identity theft. It may take 7-10 business days to receive your reports.
If you believe you are a victim, understand that it may take some time and effort to recover your name, but by following the recommended steps below, we are confident that you are on the right path to recovering your identity.
1. Contact the Police
2. Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus
3. Close the Accounts You Know or Suspect Involve Identity Fraud
4. Contact the Government Authorities
5. Keep A Record of Your Actions and Contacts
1. Contact the Police
By contacting the police they can start investigating the crime. You will also want to obtain a copy of the police report, the police report number and the name of the investigator. Many banks, credit card companies and other agencies you will need to contact may require this information as proof of a crime. When filing a police report, provide as much documentation as you can to prove you have been a victim of identity theft. Documentation including collection letters, credit reports, an Identity Theft Affidavit can help the police create a thorough report. If the identity fraud occurred while you were away from home, you may also need to file a report in the jurisdiction where the fraud actually occurred. Be persistent if needed. You may be told they cannot take a report. Be sure to let the police know that you need a report to provide to other agencies to resolve the identity dispute. If your local police will not file a report, contact the county and state police. You may also ask that they file a Miscellaneous Incident Report instead.
2. Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus
Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to notify them you have been a victim of identity theft and request that your file be flagged with a “Fraud Alert.” Fraud Alerts expire, so you will want to ask how long the Fraud Alert will be in effect and how you can extend it if needed. You may also want to file a “Victim Statement” with the bureaus asking them to notify you before any new accounts are opened or any existing
accounts are changed in your name. This may identify if the perpetrator attempts to open additional accounts in your name. Request copies of your credit report from each bureau to review. If information contained within your report is inaccurate, you may dispute it and request it be changed. Request your credit report again in a few months. This will help you confirm if your requested changes have been made and may identify if your report has since changed without your knowledge. This may also identify additional identity theft occurring against you.
Equifax: Order Credit Report: 1.800.685.1111
Report Fraud: 1.800.525.6285
Experian®: Order Credit Report: 1.888.397.3742
Report Fraud: 1.888.397.3742
TransUnionSM: Order Credit Report: 1.800.888.4213
Report Fraud: 1.800.680.7289
Tips for How to Read Your Credit Report
• Check to make sure you recognize all accounts listed in your report and that the balances are in line with your records.
• Check the section listing the persons and entities that have requested or received a copy of your report. If you do not recognize a person or entity, you may want to further inquire.
• Make sure there were no inquiries to your credit report for loans or accounts you did not apply for. If there are accounts you do not recognize, this may be a sign that an identity perpetrator has fraudulently opened an account in your name.
• Check the address section to confirm there are no addresses listed for places you have never lived. If there are addresses you do not recognize, this may be a sign that an identity perpetrator has redirected your mail.
• Make sure your Social Security number is listed correctly.
• Make sure the employment history lists accurate information.
• Make sure the information is consistent across the 3 credit bureaus.
• If you identify any incorrect or suspect information, contact the credit bureau immediately. If the incorrect or suspect information is linked to a particular creditor, you will want to contact that creditor as well.
3. Close the Accounts That You Know or Suspect Involve Identity Fraud
CHECKS : If your checks have been stolen or you suspect they have been misused, contact your financial institution for stop payments. Familiarize yourself with your state’s law concerning stolen and forged checks. You can contact your State Attorney General’s office or local consumer protection agency to find out about any laws in your state related to identity fraud. Most states hold the financial institution responsible for losses related to a forged check. However, it may be your responsibility to have notified the financial institution of the possible forgery in a timely manner.
• You may also want to contact the major check verification companies directly. These
companies can alert retailers who use their databases not to accept your checks. They are:
• TeleCheck: 1.800.710.9898
• Certegy, Inc.: 1.800.437.5120
• You can also find out if the perpetrator has been passing bad checks on your account by
calling SCAN at 1.800.262.7771.
CREDIT ACCOUNTS AND ATM CARDS
4. Contact the Government Authorities
Federal Trade Commission
Counselors at the FTC can take your complaint and provide additional helpful advice on how to proceed once you have been a victim of identity theft. Their website is full of tips and also provides information on how to find out what laws have been passed in your state pertaining to identity theft.
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580
Social Security Administration
The SSA Office of the Inspector General investigates allegations of identity theft. If you know or suspectyour SSN may be involved in the identity theft against you, you may want to contact the SSA to notify them, and to request a copy of your Social Security Statement.
SSA Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore MD 21235
Email: o i firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
The USPIS is the law enforcement entity of the U.S. Postal Service and is the entity that investigates identity theft – specifically if the identity theft involves stolen mail or other violations of the integrity of our mail service.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260
5. Keep A Record of Your Actions and Contacts
Keep a file of documents related to the identity theft. You will want to include documents such as disputed bills, credit reports, police report, etc. Maintain a record of your telephone conversations with the persons and agencies you contact for assistance. Be sure to record the date and time of the call, the name and title of the person you spoke with, and the things you discussed.
Follow-up all telephone conversations in writing and send these letters certified with return receipt requested. Maintain a copy of this written correspondence for your file.
Maintain copies of any written correspondence you exchange related to the identity fraud. Keep original documents for your file; only mail copies.
Identity Theft Resource Center
P.O. Box 26833
San Diego CA 92196
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 33752
San Diego CA 92103
Victims Assistance of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 33752
Washington DC 20033
Steps Toward Preventing Future Identity Theft
Be Aware. Monitor your financial statements regularly.
Obtain your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 6-12 months . Review these reports for any inaccurate information, or any transactions that you were not aware of or did not authorize. Secure your personal information at home. Consider keeping your sensitive, personal information in a safe or other location accessible only by you. Ask about security measures in your workplace. Find out who can obtain your personal information through work, how your information is secured, and how they discard personal records. Avoid giving out personal information over the phone. Especially when the telephone call is initiated by another party. Identity thieves may pose as a representative of a legitimate organization with whom you do business and may contact you to “verify” your information. Be suspicious of providing personal information online. Identity thieves use a practice called ‘phishing’ where they send emails that claim to be from a legitimate source – such as a bank, government entity or your ISP – and ask you to update your account or personal information. Verify unsolicited email by calling the financial institution or government agency directly, or through a new Internet session. Carry only the information you need. Only take with you the credit cards you need, and avoid carrying your Social Security card.
Regularly review your recent Card account activity . Accessing your account online is a great way to stay up-to-date on recent charges. Shred documents containing your personal information before disposing. Identity thieves have been known to “dumpster dive” to obtain documents with personal information that have been discarded.
You may obtain a paper shredder at any local office supply company. Have the Postal Service hold your mail if you are going to be gone for a few days or more. Since identity thieves have also been known to obtain personal information by collecting individual’s mail before they return home, it is a good idea to collect your mail as soon as possible and to have the Postal Service hold your mail at the post office if you are planning on being away for any period of time. Another way to prevent account information from being stolen in the mail or from the trash is to reduce the amount of paper with account references.
Act fast! Any protections you have are stronger if you act quickly to try to correct potential identity theft.
P.S. We have sample letters that you can use if you were a victim of Identity Theft. Please contact us at (623) 243-4000. We will be happy to email the sample letters to you.
Content for this article obtained from American Express website.
Not only is having life insurance vital, but knowing the exact details of your policy are also just as imperative.
For some people such as Joan Settje, the specifics (or non-existence) of her husband’s life insurance plan were not unveiled until after his untimely death at the age of 72.
After her husband Lon Settje retired from his career, he decided to take on a part-time job at the popular convenience store Target near their home in St. Charles, Minnesota. Lon didn’t take on the job for the money; rather, as opportunities to still feel connected to the real world. He enjoyed the customers, the respect, and overall just being helpful in his community.
For over six years, Lon was a signature at the Target Superstore. He wouldn’t work many hours. In fact, during his last year he even cut down to just eight hours per-week.
Regardless, Settje loved his job and enjoyed the wonderful benefits he reaped from working for such a substantial company like Target.
After passing away in September, Lon’s wife Joan received a letter from Target with information regarding his 401(k) plan, pension, and other benefits including his life insurance plan.
Because of his limited hours, the company explained that Lon was enrolled in a basic company life insurance plan that would provide his wife with a year’s worth of Lon’s salary.
Target urged Joan to call Minnesota Life Insurance to begin the process of initiating a claim. Unfortunately for Joan, it wasn’t that easy.
During that exact phone call Joan was informed that Target had not submitted any documents in order to process her late husband’s claim. When Joan confronted Target about the issue, they told her that a mistake had been made and her husband actually never had a life insurance policy through their company to begin with.
Needless to say, after dealing with the death of her husband and all of the grief that already comes with such a tragic event, this was the last bit of information Joan wanted to hear.
Joan decided to write a letter to Target in order to find out why she was ever told her husband had life insurance in the first place. Target was very passive about the issue, by simply writing back weeks later with a blank complaint form, basically telling Joan to take her problem elsewhere.
After being dismissed by Target, Joan decided to write in to “What’s Your Problem?” At this time she was unaware of the exact price of her husband’s policy, but that was not even the main source of Joan’s frustration.
When she found out that it had in fact been a minimal amount, Joan was even more frustrated.
“That’s part of what makes me so darn mad, because he worked overtime a lot… he came in early when they called him and stayed late when they needed him,” said Settje. So mostly, this was a respect issue for Joan.
“The last call I made to them they just said, ‘He didn’t have one,’ and hung up on me,” she said.
“The Problem Solver”, an employee at “What’s Your Problem”, contacted Target spokeswoman Kay Rubbelke, who simply stated she couldn’t talk about the issue, but promised to look into it.
As promised, Target contacted Settje saying that because her husband worked under 20 hours in the weeks leading up to his death, they were forced to drop his policy.
Settje felt that this didn’t sound right to her, but was through with fighting the issue. Luckily, “The Problem Solver” was not.
The company contacted Target again, asking why the original letter was sent in the first place stating that Lon did have life insurance if he really did not. “The Problem Solver” then faxed a copy to Rubbelke.
Within hours, Joan Settje received a very uplifting phone call saying that the company had changed its mind.
“They said they looked into it further and, yes, he had been enrolled in a company policy,” Settje said. “They apologized for not getting back to me and straightening out this matter. They said they were glad I contacted you because it brought to light a lot of problems they were having in the office.”
The Target spokespeople also told Joan that her husband’s annual salary for his final year was $3,600, but they would send her a check for a solid $4,000. When the check arrived it was made out for $4,079.11 ($4,000 plus interest). Also attached, was a letter of apology.
“All these months, I was just going to let it go,” she said. “I just can’t believe it.”
Lesson learned? KNOW YOUR POLICY. You don’t want to end up in a situation similar to Joan’s, especially if it is for a significant-life changing amount of money.
If you do not have life insurance currently set up for you and your family, now is the perfect time. If you live in the states of Arizona or California and are looking for affordable life insurance please contact ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. at (602) 212-1048 or (877) 275-2201 or visit their website www.asjtermlifeinsurance.com to get an instant accurate quote for your needs. ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. represent many nationally reputed insurance companies like The Hartford, MetLife, ING, Lincoln Benefit Life, Lincoln National Life, Ohio National and many other companies.
A huge movement occurred for life insurance on Sunday, A.I.G. agreed to sell its unit of American Life Insurance to MetLife for an astounding $15.5 billion, $6.8 of which will be in cash. This is the second major transaction in a one week span for the company that is still desperately trying to dig itself out of substantial debt.
Just last week A.I.G. sold American International Assurance to Britain’s Prudential P.K.C. for $35.5 billion. The sales together brought in a combined $51 billion for the struggling company.
For the MetLife move alone, A.I.G. brought in $6.8 billion in cash. The rest will remain in a combination of both common and preferred stock shares, which include the mandatory convertible preferred stock.
A.I.G. has stated that the first 9 billion from the sale will go directly towards the redemption of its preferred shares in Alico, which is held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rest of the money will be used to lower the New York Fed’s lending commitment to A.I.G.
In the early days, A.I.G. will still own an 8 percent stake in MetLife; however, after the stocks are converted from preferred to common stake it will end up being slightly over 20 percent.
The deal between A.I.G. and MetLife will be finalized by the end of 2010. MetLife is hoping that this monumental move will help launch its stock from 45 cents a share to 55 cents by the end of next year.
Both companies stated that this deal has been in the works for well over a year; however, not all is said and done for the still unsteady A.I.G. Still to be solved is exactly how A.I.G. will repay the remainder of its bailout, which includes the nearly 80 percent currently being held by the government.
Some financial analysts suggest that converting the government’s preferred shares into common stock that can be sold over a period of time (either through direct conversion or through replacement with newly issued shares) is their best bet.
What the future holds for A.I.G. is nearly impossible to say. After undergoing a tremendous liquidity crisis back in September of 2008, the company has had a rather difficult time getting back on its feet; however, hopefully these two large sales will help boost the one-time power company in the right direction.
Given the constant reminder of how important savings and cutting back are during times of economic crisis, like today, many people are wondering exactly how necessary life insurance really is. We’re here to tell you that the answer is: very important.
Life insurance is the number one way to reach financial independence. The burden of planning a financial future for you and your loved ones will virtually be lifted off your shoulders, as this is the exact job of any life insurance policy.
Americans nowadays have a variety of stresses to worry about including raising families, caring for aging parents, not to mention managing their own careers. So, it’s safe to say that what exactly happens to your family after you pass on is probably far from your mind. Although, equally important as the above responsibilities.
No matter what your individual situation may be, it is critical to have some sort of control of your finances at all times. For certain scenarios this means setting goals, formulating a plan, and monitoring the progress. In terms of your family’s future, you should take it a step farther, and purchase a life insurance policy to make sure that your family is 100 percent taken care of, regardless of what the future may hold.
Life insurance is the foundation of all sound financial plans. It is necessary.
Life is full of uncertainty and inevitable tragedy. Whether we experience them ourselves, read about them in the newspaper, or even hear about them on the news, it is happening all around us at any given time.
You are able to provide comfort for your family (dependents), by letting them know that there is a life insurance plan provided for them, should a tragedy struck and you are no longer there to provide for the family.
Did you know that life insurance not only helps pay for pricey funeral expenses, but it can also be used to pay off your mortgage, credit card balances, auto loans, other secured or unsecured loans and other household expenses? It can also supplement retirement savings, fund future education costs, and even help pay off estate taxes. Your family will be able to avoid having to sell assets because they need to pay off outstanding bills or taxes, just because you forgot to take the time to organize a simple life insurance plan.
If you’re the financial breadwinner in your family, then more than likely your wife and/or children depend heavily on you. In the event of your untimely death, life insurance can cover child care and even future needs such as college tuition etc.
Life insurance is the perfect answer for smaller families with low savings to depend on, yet a lot of responsibilities. One individual life insurance policy can help the surviving members of a family survive for years, pay the bills, and raise the children.
This isn’t saying that only men with families are the only key recipients of life insurance. Even women, who are married with children and either, own their own business or have significant financial assets to protect, need life insurance. Make the decision to protect you and your family’s future. Get life insurance today. If you are in the states of Arizona or California, please contact ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. They are the experts and represent many reputable life insurance companies like The Hartford, MetLife, Lincoln Financial, AXA Equitable, Lincoln Benefit, Pacific Life, Ohio National, West Cos, American General and many other companies. You can get an instant comparative Term Life Insurance quote at www.asjtermlifeinsurance.com or inquire about beginning your life insurance plan today at: (602) 212-1048.
The concept of life insurance can be very complex for many Americans to understand. The truth is that not all Americans need to have life insurance. According to insurance gurus at McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, the general rule is that you only need it if you are directly responsible for any dependents.
Life insurance is designed to protect the average working family, in case of the sudden death of a loved one. It’s meant to replace your “value” so your family won’t be left financially unstable once you’re gone. For any working parent, a big part of your value comes directly from your steady salary. With the proper insurance plan, your family will receive enough money to compensate your salary on average for ten to twelve years.
Having a durable life insurance plan will rid you of any “what if” questions you may have regarding the possibility of your family one day having to live without you.
The most sought after type of life insurance is known as “term life insurance”. Term insurance policies are set to cover the insured person for a predetermined amount of years, generally anywhere from one to 30 years. For the average young, health family, term life insurance is the best option, because it tends to be the least expensive.
Another type of life insurance that many purchase is permanent life insurance. Permanent life insurance, just as the name implies, will cover you from the day you buy it up until the day you die, regardless of the cause or time of your death.
The main difference between term and permanent life insurance is that permanent policies tend to come with a cash value component. What this means, is that your insurance company will continuously invest part of your premium payments to build up cash values in your account. You will not be taxed on any investment earnings, until you cash in on your policy.
In terms of price, the cheapest, most affordable policies will always go to those who are in good health and have a family history that is free of major health issues, as well. If you are taking some type of heart medication or have been diagnosed as obese, you may pay more than those who are in good health.
Your best bet for purchasing a life insurance policy would be to get begin shopping for one early in life when you are still in good health and young. If you are looking for an insurance broker with access to 30 plus companies like The Hartford, MetLife, ING, Lincoln Benefit Life, Pacific Life, AXA Equitable, American General, Ohio National, West Coast Life that will provide you with instant quotes and friendly customer-service, visit ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc.’s website www.asjtermlifeinsurance.com or give them a call today at (602) 212-1048 or (877) 275-2201 to talk to an experienced agent who could help you decide what’s the right plan that would fit your need and budget.
Things to Know When Searching for Auto Insurance
1. “You’re a statistic”: You will hear this general statement numerous times when you begin your hunt for auto insurance. Your premium will be based off of a combination of factors including the type of car you drive, its year, your age, your gender, marital status, your occupation, who you are, your personal driving violations, accident claims, credit rating, education, how far you drive to work, the miles you drive each year, your vehicle’s theft protection devices, where you live and how you live. This may appear to be an abundance of determinants; however, all of these can and will work both for and against you to come up with a reasonable monthly premium.
2. You will save money by comparison shopping. Just like when you prepare to purchase anything else, you are going to want to do your research before jumping the gun and making your ultimate decision. Prices for auto insurance will vary vastly depending on the provider. What may appear to be the same exact product can still have a different price tag, so make sure to do your research before committing to any specific company.
3. it’s not just about price. It is also about the customer-service that your insurer provides. It is your right to do some background research regarding each insurance company’s history in terms of claims service. If a company takes forever to file a claim after an accident occurs or they are financially unstable, you are not going to want to sign up with them solely based on a low premium.
4. Auto Insurance is not an area to be skimpy on. Most states only require liability coverage, which again will protect you from being held responsible for another party’s damages, in the event of an accident. You should look for more coverage beyond just the basics. For example collision, bodily injury, car rental, comprehensive, full glass, medical coverage, uninsured or underinsured motorist, and towing are all additional types you can add to your policy. Just because you choose to get extended coverage does not mean that you will have to necessarily pay more. Many companies can work with you and come up with a reasonably priced multi-coverage plan designed just for you.
5. Research what discounts you are entitled to. Discounts are granted to reward behavior. For example, good grades and certain safe driving courses could make you eligible for monthly discounts. Do your homework before purchasing auto insurance. Any website that is willing to give you multiple quotes at once such as www.asjautoinsurance.com is the perfect place to start.
ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. is any insurance customer’s ideal insurance agency of choice, because they work with multiple companies, which will in turn provide you with a listing of various quotes and from there you and your family can find the one that works for you. You can go ahead and request a no obligation quote at:
and the experts at ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. will go to work on coming up with a number of auto insurance quotes from different companies such as The Hartford, MetLife Auto & Home, Progressive, Safeco, Infinity, Foremost, Bristol West and many more companies. Visit us at www.asjautoinsurance.com or call us at 602-212-1048 or toll free 877-275-2201.
At ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. you are in the hands of elite, experienced professionals who have been providing insurance services to both Arizona and California residents for more than 10 years and will work for you non-stop until you are fully satisfied with the outcome.
With the current economic conditions affecting the lives of all Americans, many are left feeling the need to return to their basic essential needs. It has become custom to ditch the lavish luxuries that we were once used to indulging in during more fiscally stable time periods. This is a great way to go about life in general as we continue to get our personal economic conditions and country as a whole back on its feet; however, for something as critical and meaningful as life insurance, which is primarily used to protect a family’s future and to protect your assets for future generations, you don’t want to be neglecting life insurance. Term life insurance is an inexpensive way to accomplish your goals.
In times of economic uncertainty, such as the current recession, don’t you want to conserve what you can? We as Americans have little control over anything as substantial as the stock market crashing or a recession in general. But, from a smaller, individual standpoint, insuring your possessions can only ensure your chances of having a brighter, more beneficial future.
Of course, when you are going to be seeking out life insurance, you need to make sure you are working with a licensed professional. Certain insurance professionals can provide you with professional advice and help you save on your insurance premiums. One such professional agency that is able to offer you a personalized plan for your specific needs is ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. Going to accomplished professionals at ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. (www.asjtermlifeinsurance.com) can increase your chances of getting the best plan for your money for a variety of reasons.
The experts at ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. have spent number of years working with top insurance companies and have excellent working relationship with these reputable companies which could help you get the best underwriting class you could qualify for. Some of the life insurance companies that ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. currently represents are The Hartford, MetLife, ReliaStar (ING), Security Life of Denver (ING), Pacific Life, Midland National Life, Lincoln Benefit Life, American General, Ohio National Life, West Cost Life, AXA Equitable Life, Lincoln Financial Group and many more companies.
The economic conditions in recent years have made several insurance companies to offer competitive term life insurance. It is the best time to purchase term life insurance that you will be able to afford and keep for years to come.
At ASJ Insurance & Financial Service Inc. you are always going to get the one-on-one individual attention and customer service that you deserve. You will be guided step-by-step through the entire process, until you are satisfied and receive the best life insurance policy possible. The insurance specialists at ASJ will do all of the shopping around for you and provide you with all of the different possible combinations of insurance options out there, so you don’t have to spend your time shopping and getting quotes from different insurance companies.
Why wait any longer? Get a quote today! http://www.asjtermlifeinsurance.com