Identity Theft Victims Website
The Federal Trade Commission has created a new website that will provide a more efficient way for identity theft victims to report and recover from identity theft. Included in the new website is an interactive checklist which takes victims through a step-by-step recovery process. The checklist will help victims understand which recovery steps should be taken after learning their identity has been stolen. The website also provides victims tips for specific kinds of identity theft, including tax-related and medical-related identity theft. In addition, the website provides advice for people who have had personal information exposed in a data breach.
The English version of the website may be found at: www.identitytheft.gov.
The Spanish version of the website may be found at: www.robodeidentidad.gov/.
Effective October 17, 2014, MasterCard is extending its zero liability limitation in the U.S. to include all MasterCard PIN-based and ATM transactions. This is in addition to coverage already provided on signature debit and credit transactions. To be covered by the zero liability limitation, the cardholder must promptly report the loss or theft as soon as becoming aware of it.
What's My FICO Score and Why Does It Matter?
Many adults become aware of their FICO score when applying for a home mortgage or other loan. They may learn that their score is 690 or 740 or 770. But what does it really mean?
FICO is a firm once known as Fair Isaac Company. It specializes in analyzing data to create a financial grade for each potential borrower. The score is used to help banks and other lenders predict how likely it is that a consumer will pay his or her bills on time and be able to handle a mortgage amount or credit line. The score is also a factor in the interest and terms of your loan.
To create a score ranging from a low of 300 to a high of 850, FICO uses information provided by the three major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. When creating a score, FICO considers the following factors:
What does your score mean?
By now, you may be wondering how to find your FICO score. While you can find your scores based on information from the three major reporting agencies online at www.myfico.com, these are not free. In addition, they may not be the precise scores used by your lender.
A better value is to request a free credit report from the three major reporting agencies online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by toll-free phone at 877-322-8228. Keep in mind the factors that FICO considers when reviewing your credit reports to get a handle on your approximate score. Also be sure to check these reports annually and inform the agencies if you spot any errors or inaccuracies.
To learn more about your financial health, visit the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions' Financial Wellness Checklist Center at www.wdfi.org/ymm/wellness_checklist.htm.
Scammers, hackers, and identity thieves are looking to steal your personal information – and your money. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, like keeping your computer software up-to-date and giving out your personal information only when you have a good reason.
Don’t buy security software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially messages that claim to have scanned your computer and found malware. Scammers send messages like these to try to get you to buy worthless software, or worse, to “break and enter” your computer.
Treat Your Personal Information Like Cash
Don’t hand it out to just anyone. Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. So every time you are asked for your personal information – whether in a web form, an email, a text, or a phone message – think about whether you can really trust the request. In an effort to steal your information, scammers will do everything they can to appear trustworthy.
Check Out Companies to Find out Who You’re Really Dealing With
When you’re online, a little research can save you a lot of money. If you see an ad or an offer that looks good to you, take a moment to check out the compnay behind it. Type the company or product name into your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” If you find bad reviews, you’ll have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. If you can’t find contact information for the company, take your business elsewhere.
Don’t assume that an ad you see on a reputable site is trustworthy. The fact that a site features an ad for another site doesn’t mean that it endorses the advertised site, or is even familiar with it.
Give Personal Information Over Encrypted Websites Only
If you’re shopping or banking online, stick to sites that use encryption to protect your information as it travels from your computer to their server. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure).
Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, the entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page of the site you’re on, not just where you sign in.
Protect Your Passwords
Here are a few principles for creating strong passwords and keeping them safe:
Back Up Your Files
No system is completely secure. Copy important files onto a removable disc or an external hard drive, and store it in a safe place. If your computer is compromised, you’ll still have access to your files