Fraud Protection, Part Three 

By Bridget Fitzpatrick

If you have been reading the previous articles, you’ll notice that some of the information shared about fraud may seem redundant, but keep in mind our goal of informing our readers of the alarming prevalence of identity theft and other fraudulent crimes.  

Part One addressed prevention, including recommendations from the Social Security Administration and healthcare entities. Part Two reads more like a blog entry based on a personal experience. It highlighted how easily this can happen in reality to any of us and was intended to share vital lessons learned. Part Three is a “listicle” intended to suggest both prevention and reporting procedures. 

Most of these recommendations are reiterated, but a few might surprise you. It’s a compilation of both expert and practical advice. Thanks to Delaware State Police, a bank manager, the Federal Trade Commission and credit bureau fraud departments, here are important scenarios to consider in your own quest for identity privacy.  

Take heed: 

  • Report any ID or account theft to the Delaware State Police immediately (or your own municipality if your primary residence is in another state) immediately. This is required when reporting fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  
  • Following the police report, report theft to the FTC immediately. Contact or via phone, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) 
  • Be sure to check with to determine if any breaches were made on your tax information, such as diverting a refund. 
  • Report any scams that appear as attempts to access your social security information to, including your Medicare or disability benefit information. Even if you don’t take the bait. 
  • If you’ve been a victim of fraud, do not answer any phone call you don’t recognize.  
  • Credit bureaus also need to know you’ve reported it to the FTC, as well as having filed a police report in order to place fraud alerts on your credit. 
  • Consider freezing your identity information with credit bureaus. You will be alerted about any questionable inquiries or attempts to steal personal information. 
  • If you are a victim of fraud, you can place a one or seven-year freeze. This may affect your ability to borrow or open a new account, but you won’t be penalized for frequent monitoring of your credit during the account freeze time. 
  • Consider an upgrade to credit reporting upgrades, such as Experian, which can help you boost your score and provide alerts. 
  • Monitor your credit score periodically, but not fanatically. Checking too often can result in red flags as to why you need to know so frequently (i.e., are you seeking your chances of financing a new credit card or loan?). 
  • Use monitoring services such as Creditkarma and Lifelock. They are not credit bureaus. Rather, they provide alerts about account activity associated with your personal identity. 
  • Immediately contact your bank(s) to report the theft in order to put a freeze on your account. Go in person to have the existing account closed and to transfer your funds to a new account. Also change your user name and password to something new. 
  • Set up a secondary email account if you suspect your primary is compromised, and send sensitive information, such as communication with the FTC to the secondary account 
  • Change your passwords – all of them – frequently: email, Amazon, newspaper subscriptions, credit and debit cards and utilities. They are all at risk if your personal information has been breached.  
  • Run malware software at least monthly, especially if you have been previously hacked. Shop around for a service that can immediately pick up questionable activity on your computer. 
  • If you are married and utility and other accounts are in your name but your spouse pays them out of their own account, this can reduce your credit score significantly in two ways. Your income to debt ratio factor is affected if the partner is the primary wage earner. Plus, it takes three months minimum of paying it from your own account for the credit bureaus to consider boosting your score.  
  • In this above scenario, if the two of you must have individual checking/debit accounts, consider having a monthly transfer made to your account from theirs, you to pay it. From the sources I spoke with, it is wiser to keep the household accounts in your name since they can help boost your score. 
  • Contact all of your credit card help lines immediately to report your breach and replace your cards with a new account number to avoid any attempts of charging to the existing account. 
  • Be careful when closing credit accounts. Some, like store cards you signed up for its perks can actually keep your credit score steady, even if you only use it a few times a year. Paying it off immediately is essential. 
  • As previously recommended, never “Unsubscribe” from email notifications you did not sign up for. This may cause malware to be downloaded to your account. Just move them to your trash folder and be sure to empty it frequently. It may not stop unwanted emails from still coming in, but it’s better than the potential consequences. 
  • Notify your financial advisor and/or accountant of any breach. 

These recommendations are only a few that we have shared. For more information on protecting yourself and family from fraudulent crimes, Parts One and Two may provide additional information. They can be found on Delaware Retiree’s Article Archives

3 responses to “Fraud Protection, Part Three 

  1. I now answer my phone with: “Hello! This phone number does not permit Telemarketing, Robo or Spam calls. Do you have something important to say, speak now.”

    Well, 99.5% of the calls just hang up after my message. Who do I get calls from on an average: Medicare Benefits 3 to 4 times a day, Funeral Expenses, Car Warranty 3 to 4 times a week, other miscellaneous 3 to 4 times a week.

  2. Hi,

    In the email today I got an email with info on “FRAUD PROTECTION, PART 3” and at the end of the article it has go to the website to read Part 1 & 2. I have gone to the website and looked all over on it but can’t seem to find Fraud Protection 1 & 2. Can you assist me or tell me where to click to find these?

    ((( These recommendations are only a few that we have shared. For more information on protecting yourself and family from fraudulent crimes, Parts One and Two may provide additional information. They can be found on Delaware Retiree’s Article Archives. ))) This is on your email.

    Thanks in advance,
    Joe Kash

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