What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft happens when an individual uses your personal information (or that of your business) without your knowledge or consent, generally obtaining financial credit in your name (or in the name of your business).
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Association of Attorneys General, ID Theft has become one of the nation's fastest-growing crimes. The Federal Trade Commission's receives about 4,000 identity theft complaints per week.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
While you may not be able to prevent this from occurring, the following pointers will definitely reduce your risk:
Shred Confidential Documents - Shred all unwanted materials containing sensitive personal information, such as bank statements, credit card receipts, etc.
Secure Personal Information - Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates or employ outside help for having service done in your home. Also, do not discuss personal information on a cordless phone. Finally, do not carry your Social Security card. Keep it in a secure place.
Avoid Giving Out Personal Information - Don't give out personal information over the phone unless you are sure you know to whom you are speaking. Be wary of promotional scams where you are asked to provide your personal information. Finally, avoid providing your Social Security Number unless absolutely necessary.
Send Sensitive Mail at a Public Mailbox - Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes, rather than your unsecured personal mailbox.
Be Attentive to Financial Information – Check your financial statements for any suspicious activity and pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with financial institutions if you notice anything unusual or have not received your statements. Review your credit report annually and contact creditors and the credit reporting agencies immediately if you notice anything unusual (i.e., new accounts or inquiries). Consider enrolling in a credit bureau monitoring service. These services can provide you with alerts when your credit bureau information is accessed.
Protect Your Account from Online Threats – “Phishing and “pharming” use official looking emails or web pages to deceive you into disclosing your personal information. A phishing email tries to direct you to an imposter web site of a legitimate business or financial institution, where it asks for your personal information. Pharming occurs when hackers disrupt the transfer of information on the Internet and point you to a fraudulent Web site. Avoid this trickery by utilizing the following suggestions.
• Do not provide your vital personal and account information by email or phone unless you initiate the contact
• Do not click on any links in a suspicious email, for it may initiate virus installations. Once installed, viruses can use “key logging” to capture your personal identification, passwords and account information. To avoid this problem, please install security software to help protect your personal computer against these security threats. To purchase security software, go to www.dell.com.
ID Theft and Dell Financial Services
Dell Financial Services (DFS) maintains policies and procedures to detect and prevent fraud. These policies and procedures are consistent with the standards of the finance industry. However, if you believe someone has used your personal information to obtain financing that is serviced by DFS you need to act immediately to protect yourself and inform DFS of the issue.
How to Report ID Theft
• A Police Report should be filed with your local police department. If you believe you know who is responsible, this should be included in the Police Report.
• Obtain an affidavit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) web site http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft and complete it. For the Affidavit to be valid, please sign it in the presence of a notary public.
• Contact the major credit reporting agencies listed below and report that you have been a victim of identity theft: Equifax: 1- 800-525-6285; Experian: 1- 888-397-3742; Trans Union: 1- 800-680-7289
• Call your creditors and banks. Review your existing account information to determine if all activity is valid. Ensure no other accounts that you are not aware of have been opened in your name.
• Notify your local mail carrier.
• Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if you think your Driver's License number has been compromised.
How to Submit Your ID Theft Claim to DFS
To process your claim of ID Theft, please contact DFS Customer Care at (800) 283-2210 8:00 AM to 5:00PM CST. Advise the representative that you have been a victim of Fraud with DFS. Once this claim is submitted, we will review the account and investigate the facts. Upon completion of our investigation, we will send you a letter. An investigation may take 30 days or more. if you are trying to obtain credit, please advise the creditor of the situation. If you receive a collections call requesting payment of a DFS account, advise them that you are an Identity Theft victim and are working with the DFS Fraud Department to get the matter resolved.
How to Request Information About a Fraudulent Transaction from DFS
Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), identify theft victims and law enforcement have the right to request application information and business transaction records about consumer transactions alleged to the result of identity theft. To make a FACTA request for information, you must provide the following to DFS:
Requests from Victims (consumers):
Victims requesting information about a consumer transaction alleged to be the result of identity theft must do so in writing. In addition to providing a written request for information to DFS, victims must also provide:
(1) A copy of a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license;
(2) A copy of a police report; and
(3) If an account was opened, a completed affidavit (victims may use the FTC's form affidavit, available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf)
Requests from Law Enforcement:
Law enforcement officials requesting information about a consumer transaction alleged to be the result of identity theft must also do so in writing. Law enforcement must provide DFS with either:
A written request for information on official law enforcement letterhead, accompanied by all of the following documentation:
(1) A copy of the victim's government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license;
(2) A copy of a police report
(3) If an account was opened, a completed affidavit (victims may use the FTC's form affidavit, available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf); and
(4) The victim's signed authorization to have records released to law enforcement.
A subpoena or warrant requesting the information.
Mail all FACTA information requests to:
Dell Financial Services
ATTN: Fraud Investigations
1 Dell Way
Mail Stop RR3-62
Round Rock, Texas