Valentine e-Cards May Deliver More Than Just Love!

With Valentine's Day upon us, you may be receiving so-called "e-cards" in your email inbox. Some may come from anonymous senders or secret admirers. They might appeal to your curiosity and cause you to click on a link, claiming that the e-card is from a family member, friend, or other unnamed person.

The ChoicePoint Data Security Breach (Feb. '05): What It Means for You

Data aggregators compile in-depth dossiers of personal information on almost everyone, even though many have never heard of them, have never had an account with them, nor have given them permission to obtain personal information. Until recently, many Americans had never heard of ChoicePoint, one of the largest data aggregators. But with recent information coming to light that identity thieves opened 50 accounts to access ChoicePoint’s databases of personal information, many people are just realizing that companies like ChoicePoint exist.

Identity Theft Precautions for California State Employees

The Teale Data Center for the State of California has reported a security breach in the data base that holds payroll deduction information for all state government employees. According to news reports, officials for the Data Center are quite certain that data was not removed, although they are not entirely certain. One of the data elements in the data base is employee Social Security number (SSN). The incident apparently occurred in April 2002.

Call Don't Click: Why It Is Smarter to Order a Federally Mandated Credit Report Via the Phone Instead of the Internet

new report issued today by Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum (www.worldprivacyforum.org) in advance of the March 1 rollout of free credit reports to Midwest residents, shows that consumers may be better off calling or mailing for their federally mandated free credit report instead of going online for it.

New Look for Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers

tarting August 1, 2005, unsolicited offers for credit or insurance that are based on information in your credit report should be easier to spot.

New regulations adopted by the Federal Trade Commission now require notices to prominently display the toll free number (1-888-5OPTOUT or 1-888-567-8688) to opt-out. Now, this number, along with a statement that you can stop the unsolicited offers, must appear - in at least 12-point type - on the first page of the offer.

FTC Sues Imposter Web Sites Offering "Free Credit Reports"

The FTC this week announced a lawsuit and simultaneous settlement with Consumerinfo.com, a subsidiary of the credit bureau Experian, and freecreditreport.com, companies that advertise free credit reports. The FTC charged the companies with "deceptive and misleading" claims.

Consumerinfo.com and freecreditreport.com advertised "free credit reports," but failed to inform consumers that they were automatically signing up for credit report monitoring services and would be charged $79.95 if they did not cancel within 30 days.

FTC Disposal Rule: Does it Apply to You?

The goal of the Disposal Rule is to reduce identity theft and other fraud through greater protection of consumer information. The rule applies to consumer reporting agencies like credit bureaus, employment or tenant screening companies, as well as companies that compile information and sell reports on medical history, check writing history and insurance claims. Significantly, the Disposal Rule also applies to any business that uses such reports.

Tell the FCC to Stop Debt Collectors from Calling Your Cell Phone

Debt collectors want permission to call your cell phone. They want to use autodialers in order to reach as many numbers as possible.

The law currently protects consumers from such calls to cell phones, but the debt collectors want that to change.

The Case of the Disappearing Check: What is Electronic Check Conversion?

Electronic check conversion may be used when you make purchases in person at a store or when you mail a check to pay your credit card, utility or mortgage account payment. Either way, the growing use of electronic check conversion means you have to be more diligent than ever about tracking your payments and correcting errors in your account. When checks are processed electronically, your rights, remedies, and potential losses are governed by the federal Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Act. This is the same law that governs your ATM and debit card transactions.

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