Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What to Do if You Become the Victim of a Stolen Identity

What to Do if You Become the Victim of a Stolen Identity

First Steps as a Victim of ID Theft

When all the preventative measures have failed, take the following steps right away. Speed is important here.

1. Disconnect your Computer from the Internet. You probably have more personal information than you imagined on your computer. This advice is especially important if you store any financial records electronically or use your laptop for online financial transactions.

Use a Different Computer to do the Following:

2. File a Complaint with the FTC. Prior to filing a police report, go to the FTC Identity Theft website and complete the online questionnaire.

The questionnaire will generate a customized report for you to complete.

You can also complete an ID Theft Affidavit.

3. File a Police Report. This is really important. Your friends may say you are over-reacting, but this one simple step will help you big-time down the road.

So, report your identity theft to the local police or sheriff's department where you live AND the police department in the community where the theft took place.

Bring a printed copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form that you have previously completed online.

Also bring a copy of the FTC cover letter in support of the ID Theft Complaint stating why the police report is critical to protecting your rights and the documentation verifying the theft of your identity. You can print this out here:

Ask the police to issue a report and request a copy of that report. (If the police refuse to issue a report, ask if they will issue a "Miscellaneous Incidents Report" instead or contact the state police.)

The FTC cover letter explains why a police report and an ID Theft Complaint are so important to victims of identity theft and includes the relevant statutory provisions.

Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the ID Theft Complaint into their police report, and tell them that you need a copy of the Identity Theft Report (the police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated) to dispute the fraudulent accounts and debts created by the identity thief.

(In some jurisdictions the officer will not be able to give you a copy of the official police report, but should be able to sign your Complaint and write the police report number in the "Law Enforcement Report" section.)

4. Report the Theft to the Institution. Don't forget to call the originating institution for the credit card or ID card that was stolen. For example, if your driver's license was stolen, call the Department of Motor Vehicles in your area.

It's also a good idea to call your banks and/or credit unions. The FTC has posted a sample letter that can be used as a template to contact institutions with regard to ID Theft on this page called "Sample Letter to Request Fraudulent Transaction or Account Information."

5. Place a "Fraud Alert" on your Credit Reports. Contact one of the credit reporting agencies listed below to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit cards. A "fraud alert" will be placed on your credit reports, and the agency you contacted will notify the other credit reporting agencies. These agencies are:


Equifax Information Services, LLC PO Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374 Phone: 800-525-6285


Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013 Phone: 888-397-3742


TransUnion PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022 Phone: 800-680-7289

6. Compare your Pre- and Post-Theft Inventories. Hopefully, you've created an inventory of all your ID cards and any magnetic strip cards such as credit cards, or frequent [flyer, latte, drug store, etc.] cards. Again, we hope you've included the contact telephone numbers for each card. Compare the inventories before and after your identity was stolen.

7. Obtain and Read the Terms of Services for Every Stolen Card. Different institutions may have different requirements, so get the contract and follow the steps they have outlined.

8. Close all Accounts you Believe have Been Tampered with. It may be annoying and inconvenient, but it is much, much easier to close an account and open a new one than it is to chase after your identity thief.

9. Review Your Credit Reports Immediately. Once you have placed a fraud alert on your credit reports, you will be given an opportunity to access your reports. Do it, and review them carefully.

10. Continue to Monitor Your Credit. ID theft issues can last for years, so make this a regular part of your financial routine.

Common ID Theft Terms and Definitions

Fraud Alerts. There are two types of fraud alerts: an initial alert, and an extended alert.

An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days. You can request an initial fraud alert if you suspect that you are -- or soon might be -- a victim of identity theft.

An initial alert is appropriate if you've lost or misplaced a credit card or some form of ID or if you've inadvertently succumbed to a phishing scam.

When an initial fraud alert is posted on your credit report, potential creditors must use what the law refers to as "reasonable policies and procedures" to verify your identity before they can issue credit in your name.

The steps potential creditors may take, however, are not necessarily guaranteed to verify that the potential applicant is not you.

This is one reason why you should take advantage of the free credit report available to you from each of the three consumer reporting companies (identified above).

Tip: Be sure to request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number appear on the credit reports they send to you.

An extended fraud alert stays on your credit report for seven years.

An extended fraud alert is appropriate when there is no doubt that you've become a victim of identity theft. In this case, you have presumably filled out the application to receive an Identify Theft Report from the FTC website and have requested and received a written police report. Either of these reports should be sufficient to obtain an extended fraud alert.

Once in place, potential creditors must actually contact you, or meet with you in person, before they issue you credit. It's cumbersome to be sure, but better than the alternative.

Many victims of identity theft find themselves victimized again and again when they don't take these protective measures. An extended fraud alert entitles the ID theft victim to two free credit reports within twelve months from each of the three consumer reporting companies.

Credit Freeze. Forty-seven states in the Union have mandatory credit freeze laws in response to individual identity theft.

These laws require a credit freeze when an individual becomes the victim of identity theft. Michigan is one of three states
(the other two are Missouri and Alabama) that has not passed such mandatory legislation.

Since September 2007, however, Michigan identity theft victims may contact the three credit agencies to request a credit freeze. For victims of ID theft, there is no fee, but all others must pay $10 to place, temporarily lift, or remove the credit freeze.

ID Theft Complaint. Victims of identity theft should use the tools available at the FTC website. The ID Theft Complaint is the complaint form used to file a complaint with the FTC and is found here.

The FTC makes the complaint you file available to other federal, state and local law enforcement officials nationwide. This complaint form can be used in conjunction with the police report you receive to create an Identity Theft Report that is critical to providing you with certain legal rights and which will help you recover more swiftly from the ID theft.

Identity Theft Report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides the ID theft victim with more legal rights when you have completed an Identity Theft Report than when you have not.

Preliminary to completing the Identity Theft Report is the filing of a police report.

An Identity Theft Report is a very useful tool that can be used to permanently block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report. As we've indicated above, too, an Identity Theft Report is necessary if you need to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

ID Theft Affidavit. The ID Theft Affidavit is a simpler form of an Identity Theft Report, but keep in mind that it does NOT provide the legal rights available when filing an Identity Theft Report. All this takes us back to the very important first step: File a Police Report!

In summary, follow these ten steps to help you effectively deal with the issues of being a victim of a stolen identity.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stated Meeting/ Sauerkraut Night this Wednesday

Just a reminder that this Wednesday is a big one in our annual schedule.
Because the Stated Meeting lands on Ash Wednesday, and also because of the weather, we thought it might be wise to take a straw poll of potential attendees/ guests and potential cancellations.
Please let WB Harkness know your plans.  He can be reached at
Thank you,
Steve Douglas

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January Stated Meeting


In lieu of a full bulletin this month, and with the approval of the Worshipful Master, I ordered a Trestleboard reminder card to be mailed out earlier this month.

It concerns me that I have not yet seen this card, and I hope I am the only one who has not.

For those who are, for whatever reason, unaware, the January Stated meeting is tonight, Wednesday, January 20.  Dinner, as usual, is at 6:15, and Lodge opens at 7:15.

Steve Douglas

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wednesday, November 11

It was probably ill-advised for me to try to shoe-horn a Past Masters Night into our fall agenda...especially on the heels of a Master Mason Degree, and all of the time and preparation required.
I was unable to assemble a degree team and plan an appropriate agenda for this Wednesday.  Therefore, I regret that I am cancelling Past Masters Night.  I will offer my assistance to our Master-elect, to ensure that I do everything I can to help make this important event a success in his year.
I will be at the Temple this Wednesday, trying to do some calling and planning for the Salvation Army kettle.  Please feel free to join me.
I ask your assistance in spreading the word about this change, and I apologize for this decision. 
Steve Douglas

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Funeral Arrangements for Barry Reed's Grandmother


I'm sorry to report that Barry's grandmother died this past Thursday.

I will be unable to attend the funeral this Monday.  Please be there if you


Funeral Arrangements for my Grandmother

To All:

The funeral will be held at Erlanger Church of Christ, 458 Graves Ave, 
Erlanger, KY 41018. Visitation will be from 10am to 12pm Service to follow 
Immediately afterwards. Travel to Mother of God Cemetery in Covington, KY.
The obituary will be in the newspaper or if you chose you can read it at
 Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Norwood-Winton-Carthage Lodge #576 Sponsors Spaghetti Dinner to Benef...

THE 2nd Annual



"Spotlight Cincinnati 2014"

Sponsored by

Norwood-Winton-Carthage Lodge # 576

Saturday September 26, 2009

7:00 pm

Norwood Masonic Center

2020 Hopkins Avenue

Norwood, Ohio 45212





$5 – Adults,
$3 -- Children under 12 years.

Reservations not req'd but, to help planning, Call:
Chris Thomas

(513) 703-0579
Proceeds to the Grand Lodge 2014 Fund

Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Annual Masonic Cornhole Tournament SATURDAY

First Annual Masonic Cornhole Tournament SATURDAY

Please recall that we paid to sponsor a Cornhole team for this Saturday's tournament.
From what I've heard around the District, this looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, and we still have a couple of openings on our McMillan Lodge team.
Just let me know if you want to play, and plan to be at the Temple at 11am Saturday.
If any Officers want to come down, that will provide the opportunity for us also to make up the time we lost at our cancelled Wednesday rehearsal.
Please reply to this e-mail by Thursday evening.
Thanks!  Hope to see you Saturday.