Huge Increase in Tax Identity Theft, New Helpful FTC Website, IdentityTheft.gov

Huge Increase in Tax Identity Theft, New Helpful FTC Website, IdentityTheft.gov Identity theft fraudsters used to steal consumers’ credit card information and run up charges. They still do, but now the fraudsters are stealing identity information to file fraudulent tax returns to get tax refunds in large numbers. In 2015, about 43% of the Federal Trade Commission’s complaints were related to use of stolen identities to get others’ tax refunds. Fraudsters also use someone else’s children as dependents in filing their tax returns to lessen their tax liability. Other crooks claim a tax refund using a deceased taxpayer’s information. Still...

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Liz Weston Advises on “Credit Repair”

Liz Weston Advises on “Credit Repair” Liz Weston is an excellent commentator on money and credit issues. On September 7, 2015, she answered a consumer’s question whether to hire someone for credit repair. She advises against hiring anyone to repair your credit: Liz Weston’s Answer: There’s so much fraud in the credit repair industry that you’re likely better off doing it yourself rather than exposing yourself to rip-offs. Credit repair companies aren’t supposed to take money upfront or promise things they can’t deliver, but many do. One of the scammers’ most common ploys is to flood the credit bureau with...

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Experian Worst of Big 3 in Resolving Consumer Disputes

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a complaint database concerning credit reporting. Based on the data, the Bureau last week published a report that Experian received almost 60 percent more complaints than TransUnion and 14 percent more than Equifax. Even worse, Experian offered relief to the consumer just 1.4 percent of the time! That compares to a rate of 24 percent at TransUnion and 55 percent for Equifax.. This data is consistent with the cases I see. Experian only rarely deletes accounts that the consumer disputes, instead deferring to its customers, the banks and other creditors. The the Big...

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FTC Report on How Credit Bureaus Deal with Identity Theft

The FTC has a report out on a survey of 3,000 identity theft victims and their experiences dealing with the credit reporting agencies. The survey indicated that many consumers start out not knowing how the dispute process works under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is not surprising given the complexity of the matter and the counter intuitive requirement that the consumer contact the credit bureaus directly rather than going through the creditor that is reporting the inaccurate information. Among the identity theft victims who contacted the credit bureaus, 40% did not know they had the right to dispute to...

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Identity Theft Leads in Numbers of Consumer Complaints

The FTC reports that identity theft was the number one consumer complaint it and other federal agencies it and they receive from consumers in 2010. The agency annually publishes what it calls the Sentinel Network of consumer complaints. Last year, 6,460 California residents reported they were the victims of identity theft, which was 17% of all consumer complaints. Younger consumers were victims more often than older persons. California was #3 in the U.S. in terms of complaints of identity theft among the states adjusted for population.

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