Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, including by stealing your wallet, rifling through your trash, or by compromising your credit or bank information. They may approach you in person, by telephone, or on the Internet and ask you for the information.
The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent the theft of your identity. But you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple hints.
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft:
- Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form.
- Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
- Reconcile your bank account monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
- Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.
- Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.
- If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.
- If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
Summit Realty Group believes that a large portion of fraud and scams can pe prevented simply by creating an public awareness of how fraud can be commited.
Information provided by fbi.gov
Legitimate letters of credit are never sold or offered as investments. They are issued by banks to ensure payment for goods shipped in connection with international trade. Payment on a letter of credit generally requires that the paying bank receive documentation certifying that the goods ordered have been shipped and are en route to their intended destination. Letters of credit frauds are often attempted against banks by providing false documentation to show that goods were shipped when, in fact, no goods or inferior goods were shipped.
Other letter of credit frauds occur when con artists offer a “letter of credit” or “bank guarantee” as an investment wherein the investor is promised huge interest rates on the order of 100 to 300 percent annually. Such investment “opportunities” simply do not exist. (See Prime Bank Notes for additional information.)
Tips for Avoiding Letter of Credit Fraud:
- If an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not invest in anything unless you understand the deal. Con artists rely on complex transactions and faulty logic to “explain” fraudulent investment schemes.
- Do not invest or attempt to “purchase” a “letter of credit.” Such investments simply do not exist.
- Be wary of any investment that offers the promise of extremely high yields.
- Independently verify the terms of any investment that you intend to make, including the parties involved and the nature of the investment.
Summit Realty Group believes that a large portion of fraud and scams can be prevented simply by creating an public awareness of how fraud can be commited.
Information provided by fbi.gov
We all know that keeping track of your credit score, or FICO score, can help in financial planning and protect against damage from identity theft. What most consumers don’t know is how to control their credit scores by knowing the factors involved in determining their credit score. Here are 5 major factors that make up the credit scoring “pie”.
Your payment history on all your accounts makes up about 35% of the credit scoring “pie”. Lenders want to see how you “pay your bills” over a long period of time by looking at the length of your positive credit history and how long you have gone without a negative item. Severe unpaid debts like bankruptcies or foreclosures can stay on your credit report for the better part of a decade, which affects your credit rating even when you have other accounts that have perfect payment history for long periods of time.
Too many credit accounts and a high ratio of credit balances to credit limits accounts for about 30% of your FICO score rating. It is best to keep your balances below 50% of the available credit limit when trying to raise your credit score.
Length of credit history is another important factor that accounts for about 15% of your credit score. Longer credit histories result in higher scores. New credit accounts typically start having a positive influence on your credit rating once they have been established for a year. Another important factor incorporated into credit scores are the duration of time since each account was last used. Having a credit account available but not using it for long periods of time and then racking it up all at once can have a negative affect. Consistence is important.
New credit can account for roughly 10% of the credit scoring pie. Consumers who suddenly take on new debt and potentially overextend themselves are not conveying a sense of stability to the credit scoring system. The number of inquires (called “hard pulls”) on the consumer’s credit reports, the last time a consumer opened an account and how many accounts were opened at that time are all factors that can drag down a FICO score, point by point.
Also accounting for about 10% of the way your FICO score is determined is the type of credit you have. A “healthy mix” of installment loans (mortgage payment, auto loan) and revolving credit from banks is considered better for your credit score. The type of revolving credit is also a factor. 3 department store credit cards is not the same as 3 Visa cards issued from your bank.
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