By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY The local Chamber of Commerce held a festive, although lightly attended, meeting on St. Patricks Day in the middle of Spring Break before their no fooling April 1 Tee & Tails Golf Tournament and Community Dinner.
The tournament is still forming and there are Sponsorships still available. The Community Dinner will feature a Crawfish and Shrimp Dinner prepared by Dan Meaux of the Crawfish Shak for only $15.00 also a silent auction will be held. Call 281-328-6984 for details.
Ronnie Anderson informs us that Community Resource Credit Union is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with some 30,000 members. Mostly they reside in the Crosby, Baytown area but they have members throughout the world through their Exxon Association.
He informed attendees that identity theft can be perpetrated on all walks of life, it is when an entity or persons information is wrongfully used in a crime, usually for monetary gain.
Over the last 5 years, 27.3 million Americans have become victims of identity theft with over 10 million in the last year alone. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 38% of the victims do not report the crime. Mostly because the victims do not know they are being victimized but many times their are family issues involved.
The home is one of the most ripe areas from which to have information stolen. But to institute protections the victim must be willing to file charges.
It is recommended that each of us know when their bills arrive in the mail. We are told never give out information to people you do not know over the telephone.
The effects of the crime goes all the way to the amount of credit one is given when depositing checks into the bank.
One of the most famous perpetrators of identity theft is a school in Nigeria that trains individuals for various identity theft scams.
Anderson passed out a bundle of scam letters sent to a single elderly person. This person had called a psychic hot-line and was told he was going to get a check in the mail the alleged psychic then sold that persons name to potential scammers to send checks in the mail that require only a small payment to activate. The small payment being the only true money to change hands.
Some tax fraud schemes and financial instrument frauds can cost the victims up to 500 hours to get cleared up.
Recommendations include never carrying ones social security card unless it is to be specifically used for an occasion that requires it such as security exchanges and property closings. Each card one carries should be copied and the copy kept in a safe place within the home such as a safe or locked file. The numbers to contact for notifying the business they are associated with is critical to stopping there use by criminals. Secure trash by using a personal shredder (best is a cross cut shredder) for mail that comes in with personal information on it (including junk mail.)
Pickup new check orders at your financial institutions rather than have them mailed.
Individuals can now get their credit report free of charge at least once a year from Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union. It is recommended that individuals obtain their reports from one of these every four months.
Speed is the most important element in responding to identity theft. Contacting the companies, contacting law enforcement to prosecute and getting credit reports corrected need be done as quickly done as possible.
For debit and credit card fraud law enforcement reports must be filed in order to get your credit corrected, they will then help you file and complete an identity theft affidavit and file with the Federal Trade Commission. It is recommended that one keep accurate and up to date records of transactions.
Crosby learns of ID theft
By LEWIS SPEARMAN