What to do when your identity is stolen? (Part 2)

What To Do if Your Personal or Financial Information has been Stolen?

If you suspect that your personal information has been misused to commit fraud or theft, act immediately, and keep a detailed record of your conversations and correspondence.

Your first three steps should be:

First, contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus:

  • Equifax: www.equifax.com To order your report, call: 1-800-685-1111
    Or write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    To report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285
    And write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian: www.experian.com
    To order your report, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
    Or write: P.O. Box 2104, Allen TX 75013
    To report fraud, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
    And write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen TX 75013
  • TransUnion: www.transunion.com
    To order your report, call: 800-916-8800
    Or write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022.
    To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289
    And write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Second, close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Third, file a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the theft took place. In the modern age of cell phones, wireless technology and the internet has made banking increasingly convenient and efficient, but it has come at a cost: financial security. As banks and Internet companies diligently develop strategies to make transactions secure; identity thieves have evolved new and creative ways to steal your financial information. Financial institutions, legitimate Internet companies and law enforcement are doing what they can with the resources they have, but it falls on each individual to do their part to protect themselves from identity theft.

—Disclaimer—
This article is made available by Lee & Lee, PS for educational purposes only. The intent is to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law. The article does not provide specific legal advice. Readers of this article should understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the writers. Furthermore, the article is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

What to do when your identity is stolen? (Part 1)

What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the United States, in the most recent data from the FBI 9.9 Million Americans have been victims of Identity Theft. Washington State ranks eighth in the nation in the rate of identity theft crimes per capita. The average victim spends 30 to 40 hours rectifying the damage caused by identity theft.

Identity Theft is the crime of stealing someone’s personal, identifying information for the purpose of using that information fraudulently. Personal, identifying information includes: Social Security Numbers, credit card and banking account numbers, usernames, passwords, and patient records. Fraudulent uses for that information can often include: opening new credit accounts, taking out loans in the victim’s name, stealing money from financial accounts, or using available credit.

How to Protect Yourself From Being a Victim of Identity Theft
1. Keep records with your personal information in a safe place and if you throw away records that contain personal or financial information shred them before putting them in the trash.
2. Monitor your bank and credit card transactions for unauthorized use. (On average, it takes identity theft victims 12 months to realize that they have been victimized.)
3. Don’t provide your credit card number online unless you are making a purchase from a Web site you trust. Reputable sites will always direct you to a secure pagewith a URL starting with https:// whenever you actually make purchases or are asked to provide confidential information.
4. Never provide your personal information to anyone who contacts you through a phone solicitation. If you do provide your credit card number over the phone, be certain that you were the one initiating the call.
5. Immediately report and cancel stolen or lost credit or ATM cards.

 

—Disclaimer—
This article is made available by Lee & Lee, PS for educational purposes only. The intent is to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law. The article does not provide specific legal advice. Readers of this article should understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the writers. Furthermore, the article is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Signs of Elder Abuse

The quality of nursing and retirement homes varies, just like anything else in society. Some nursing homes are beacons of compassion; a safe harbor where our loved ones can live out their twilight years in comfort and peace. But too often we hear of elder abuse: abusive nursing staff, deteriorating facilities, and unsanitary living conditions.

Not only is it disheartening to hear of such reports, for the families of these residents it is horrifying to discover what their parents or grandparents are going through. Families wonder why on earth their relative didn’t tell them what was going on. However, it’s important to understand that sometimes their parent or grandparent has no idea that they are being abused or neglected; other times, they are too scared to speak up.

If you suspect something is not right at the nursing facility keep an eye out for red flags. Visit the nursing facility without notifying your loved one or nursing staff ahead of time. Often times staff cover up abuse during normal visit hours, so try to visit early in the morning or late in the evening.

Keep an eye out for anything unusual. Messy rooms can be signs of abuse, but take note of blood or mysterious stains on your loved one’s sheets or clothing. Also, not picking up trash or waste in days indicates neglect.

But the most obvious signs of abuse will be concerning your loved one themselves. Your loved one may outright complain of mistreatment. If so, take it as fact and consider talking to an elder abuse attorney immediately. Otherwise, look out for signs like broken bones, burns, unexplained bruises, or deep cuts. Take these injuries seriously, and be critical of explanations by the staff. The reason your loved one is in a nursing home is so these things don’t happen.

There are other physical signs that are noticeable after repeated visits, too. Frequent bedsores or infections, hair loss, dramatic weight gain or weight loss, or a steady decline in health overall are red flags that something is wrong. Ask your loved one about these symptoms, and consider speaking to an attorney.

Finally, watch out for changes in behavior, emotional health, and spending. Watch how they interact with staff or if they act differently when staff is nearby. Whispering or talking in a low voice when a nurse walks by should alert you to a potential problem. Also, check on your loved ones savings to be sure there aren’t any unusual transactions and keep an eye out for missing personal belongings or items.

Elder abuse needs to be taken seriously and addressed immediately. Our loved ones should not be living out their final years in agony, fear, or neglect.

For more signs or information on types of abuse, check out:

http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/faq/index.aspx

Lee & Lee P.S. understands how devastating elder abuse can be. Please call us if you suspect your loved ones are being mistreated or abused. We’ll go over your case and advise you on your legal options moving forward.

 

—Disclaimer—
This article is made available by Lee & Lee, PS for educational purposes only. The intent is to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law. The article does not provide specific legal advice. Readers of this article should understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the writers. Furthermore, the article is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.