** ID Theft Scams **
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If You Get This E-Mail, Delete It ASAP

The latest ploy to steal your credit card number and personal information is so believable that many are falling for it. Con artists are using the telephone in an attempt to trick you to act on an e-mail that looks like it was sent from PayPal, eBay's online payment service. The e-mail uses the same slick come-on as many nefarious attempts to steal your personal information, warning you there was a problem with your PayPal account. But there is no link to click. Instead, users are asked to call a phone number where an automated answering machine asks for account information, mimicking the legitimate ways that customers interact with financial institutions, reports The Associated Press.

(Phoenix, AZ - Aug. 10, 2006)
Attorney General Terry Goddard

Phoenix, AZ - Aug. 10, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today warned consumers about a new phishing scam circulating in the Phoenix area. Consumers have notified Goddard's office of emails requesting personal identifying information using Chase Bank and Wells Fargo logos.

The Wells Fargo email tells recipients that their Wells Fargo account information must be updated "as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and reduce the instances of fraud on our website." The email provides a link to a phony Web site which appears to be Wells Fargo and goes on to assure customers that once the information has been updated, their account will continue to operate as normal.

The Chase Bank email tells recipients the bank will deactivate and delete CHASE on-line Payments and Transfer services unless they "renew" their account information. The email also provides a link to a phony Web site.

"These are scams," Goddard said. "No financial institution will request personal identifying information by email. I encourage consumers to report these emails to my office."

Goddard offers the following tips to consumers:

Never provide your password or confidential financial information to a link obtained through an unsolicited email. Often these links direct you to fake sites (but appearing highly realistic) designed to steal information.

Be suspicious of any email that requests personal financial information or directs you to a Web site that does.

If you want to determine the email's authenticity, call the company directly using its general information number.

Check your bank, credit and debit card statements regularly to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. If you detect suspicious activity, contact your bank or card issuer immediately.

Both Wells Fargo and Chase Bank request consumers report suspicious emails to their fraud investigators. Emails with Wells Fargo logos can be forwarded to reportphish@wellsfargo.com and emails with Chase Bank logos can be forwarded to fraudfile@chase.com.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763, in Tucson at 520.628.6504, or outside the metro areas at 1.800.352.8431. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General's Office has 23 satellite offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help. Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General's Web site at www.azag.gov. An online complaint form is also available on the Web site.

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By Susan Morris
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Recently, I received an e-mail with some excellent advice on protecting your credit and personal identity. I find it worth sharing.
Here is an abridged version of the e-mail (you can contact me for a copy of the entire e-mail):

1. On checks, put your work phone number instead of your home phone. If you have a post office box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a post office box, use your work address. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks.
2. Make photocopies of the contents of your wallet. That way you will know what you had in your wallet. Keep the copies in a safe place.
3. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys, take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or an employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.
4. If your credit cards are stolen, cancel them immediately. The key is having the toll-free phone numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them.
5. If your cards are stolen, call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. This alerts any company that checks your credit that your information was stolen, and they must contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the numbers you need to contact the credit reporting agencies:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Beware! A Cunning New ID Theft Scam

Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS News.
In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Sometimes the crooks even ask for credit card numbers. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen.  The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois and Colorado.
Martha Rhynes, a real jury coordinator in Grayson County, Okla., told KXII-TV, "We never call and ask anyone for their Social Security number, date of birth, or other personal information." Instead, the courts communicate with potential jurors only by mail and never by phone, including people who don't show up. Most states don't even have jurors' phone numbers until they have actually been chosen to sit on a jury. And even then, such information is sealed with the court records. Rhynes's advice? Never give out personal information over the phone to anyone.
"This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try and bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system," Scott Holste, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, told the Missourian News.
The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their Web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

Terry Goddard Offers Tips to Protect Veterans Against Identity Theft

(Phoenix, Ariz. - May 23, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today advised military veterans to be especially vigilant about attempts to steal their identity. The risk of identity theft was heightened for veterans when a burglar stole an electronic data file from the home of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employee earlier this month.

Goddard emphasized that there is no evidence the stolen data has been used for ID theft purposes to date. The stolen data includes names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of all veterans discharged after 1975, those discharged before 1975 who have filed claims since then with the VA, and some spouses.

"With the stolen information, the thief could open a new line of credit in a veteran's name," Goddard said. "There is also an increased risk of tampering with existing credit accounts. Veterans should take extra care to check bank and credit card statements for unauthorized usage."

Goddard offered the following steps veterans could take to further protect themselves:

Free Credit Reports
Arizonans are entitled to one free credit report each year via the Internet at www.annualcreditreport.com or by telephone at 1.877.322.8228.
This Web site allows consumers to request their free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can check your report more often if you pay the fee set by each company. Or, you can sign up for one of the several credit monitoring services which are available for a fee.

Viewing their credit report gives consumers a summary of their credit use and an opportunity to determine if any unauthorized credit lines have been opened in their name.

Place an Initial Security Alert

Anyone can place an Initial Security Alert on their credit report for 90 days at no charge. These alerts notify credit institutions to verify your identification before extending credit in your name. You can contact any of the three credit reporting companies to place this alert. The company that takes your request will share it with the other two credit reporting companies. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit reporting companies:




Please note:

If you decide to place a fraud alert on your credit file, it will become more difficult for you to obtain new credit quickly, but you should be alerted if someone is trying to open a credit line in your name. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Information.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has set up a Web site ( www.firstgov.gov ) with more information on this security breach. The VA has also opened a call center to answer questions. Veterans can call 1-800-333-4636 (1800-FED-INFO) Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST). The VA said it will keep the call center open as long as needed.

FAA Regional Administrator Kerry B. Long
Editor, Charlie Muhs