Frequently Asked Questions about Debt Collection

Fact Sheet 27aFrequently Asked Questions about Debt Collection

A debt collector keeps calling for someone I do not know - how can I make them stop calling? Can a debt collector reveal information about my debt to my family, friends or boss? I have bad credit and am considering paying a company to fix it - will this work?

Find answers to these and many more questions in our Frequently Asked Questions about Debt Collections. Find out what to do about debts older than 7 years, what to do if a debt collector violates your rights and how to deal with a debt collector if you are the victim of identity theft. Our guide covers the questions we hear most frequently from consumers dealing with collection agenciesrs.

Online Privacy for Nonprofits

Fact Sheet 28Online Privacy for Nonprofits

Privacy in Education: Guide for Parents and Adult-Age Students

Fact Sheet 29Privacy in Education:
Guide for Parents and Adult-Age Students

As soon as your child enters preschool, information is collected about him or her. The body of information grows throughout the child's academic career.

School records contain highly sensitive information, even information about the family. The contents of student files are likely to have an impact on the overall educational experience of students. That is why it is wise for parents and adult-age students to be informed about laws and policies that govern student information.

Privacy abuses can range from grades bandied about in hallways to the nonconsensual exposure of student information and photos on the Internet. In today’s climate of heightened security, it is more important than ever for parents and adult-age students to be vigilant about who has access to education records.

Check 21: Paperless Banking

Fact Sheet 30Check 21:
Paperless Banking

Customer Identification Programs for Financial Transactions

Fact Sheet 31Customer Identification Programs for Financial Transactions

If you opened a new bank or other financial account recently, you may have noticed you had to supply a lot more personal information than in the past. You may have assumed you had to prove you are you as a guard against the growing crime of identity theft. Not so.

Customer identification programs (CIPs) are now required by federal law to prevent financing of terrorist operations and money laundering. The requirements go beyond just verifying your identity. Banks must now keep records of identifying information and check customer names against terrorist lists. This applies to anyone who opens a new account.

This guide is intended to make you aware of new requirements for opening a financial account as well as the kinds of companies that must comply with the CIP Rules. We also provide some suggestions on how you can prepare yourself and become part of the process.

Paper or Plastic: What Have You Got to Lose?

Fact Sheet 32Paper or Plastic:
What Have You Got to Lose?

Once you decide to buy something, you then must determine how to pay for it. Do you hand over cash? Write a check? Pay with a credit card? Or use a debit card and have the payment automatically deducted from your bank account?

If you’re like most people, you use a combination of paper, plastic and electronic payments. Pros and cons exist to whichever payment method you choose. Many of us decide quickly about the method of payment and spend too little time thinking about the potential costs or consumer protections of each method.

But you should be aware that thieves are inventing new ways to steal consumers’ account information. For example, some crooks have learned to use “skimming” devices to steal credit card or debit card information off card-swipe machines. This guide seeks to inform you about your rights as well as outline the potential risks and benefits of different payment methods.

Identity Theft Monitoring Services

Fact Sheet 33Identity Theft Monitoring Services

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about someone becoming a victim of identity theft or learning about another data breach. The exposure of Social Security numbers (SSNs) and other personal information can increase consumers’ susceptibility to identity theft. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s “Chronology of Data Breaches” documents over 230 million records that have been compromised since January 2005.

Faced with these alarming statistics, many consumers have turned to identity theft or credit monitoring services for protection. Identity theft monitoring services may sound like a good way to protect your good credit and your good name. However, many of these services are overpriced and are not worth the money that they cost.

Protecting Your Telephone Records: Does Your Carrier’s Privacy Policy Ring True?

Fact Sheet 34Protecting Your Telephone Records:
Does Your Carrier’s Privacy Policy Ring True?

We have more than 50 Privacy Fact Sheets. Click here to see the rest.

When you pick up your telephone and punch in a number, you expect that the contact is just between you and the person you call. Sure, you know your telephone carrier logs your phone’s activity. After all, a record of your mobile phone calls appears on your monthly telephone bill. And the bill for your landline phone includes information on calls made to phone numbers outside the local zone. But, what you don’t expect is that someone could use your calling history to pry into your personal life, even to physically harm you.

Since 1996, federal communications laws have required telephone companies to protect the confidentiality of your telephone calls. Despite this restriction, in the years after 1996 instances of unauthorized access to telephone records exploded. This guide explains the current efforts to stop unauthorized access to your telephone records. It offers suggestions on how to protect your records, and it provides resources for additional reading.

Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social

Fact Sheet 35Social Networking Privacy:
How to be Safe, Secure and Social

What do your long lost childhood best friend, your college roommate, your boss and your significant other all have in common? If you are one of the hundreds of millions of people using social networks, there’s a good chance that you are linked to them through an online relationship. The information you share with your online contacts allows you to keep in touch without much effort, but who else is looking at that information? And how are they going to use it?

Many people besides friends and acquaintances are interested in the information people post on social networks.  Identity thieves, scam artists, debt collectors, stalkers and corporations looking for a market advantage are using social networks to gather information about consumers.  Companies that operate social networks are themselves collecting a variety of data about their users, both to personalize the services for the users and to sell to advertisers.  

This fact sheet will provide information about the advantages and disadvantages of using social networks, what kind of information may be safe to post and how to protect it, as well as who is able to access different types of information posted to these networks.

Securing Your Computer to Maintain Your Privacy

Fact Sheet 36Securing Your Computer to Maintain Your Privacy
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