At two of the listening sessions ((This week, we are holding small group listening sessions. You should have received the invitation to your department’s listening session, with the date, time, and Zoom link from your chair. If you haven’t, please ask her or him to send it out.)) we held today, members discussed how to respond to the unemployment insurance scam that has disrupted so many of our lives. People have been sharing information on the NCC email, and both our Human Resources Office and the Office of Labor Relations have sent email containing important and useful information. If you have been impacted by the scam, we urge you to start planning your course of actin with that information, there, since those two administrative offices offices are handling the situation as it relates to our employment at the college.
At one of the listening sessions, a member talked about the value of both putting a freeze and a fraud alert on your credit report. These are two different measures that can help protect you moving forward, whether you have been victimized by the unemployment insurance scam or not. You can find information about this on Federal Trade Commission’s website here (for the freeze) and here (for the fraud alert). While we encourage you to read through all the information provided by the FTC, so that you can make the most informed decision possible, here is a brief summary of key points.
What is a credit freeze?
Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.
Can anyone see my credit report if it is frozen?
Certain entities still will have access to it.
- your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
- government agencies may have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
How do I place a freeze on my credit reports?
Contact each of the nationwide credit bureaus:
You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
Why Place a Fraud Alert
Placing a fraud alert is free. Three nationwide credit bureaus keep records of your credit history. If someone has misused your personal information – or even if you’re concerned about identity theft, but haven’t yet become a victim – you can place a fraud alert.For example, you may want to place a fraud alert if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information is lost or stolen. You also may want to place a fraud alert if your personal information was exposed in a data breach. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two about your alert.
A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The alert stays on your report for one year. You can get a new one after one year. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Be sure the credit bureaus have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.
How to Place a Fraud Alert
- Contact one credit bureau. (The information is listed above.)
- Ask it to put a fraud alert on your credit report.
- The credit bureau you contact will then contact the other two credit bureaus.
- Be sure the credit bureaus have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.
- The credit bureau will explain that you can get a free credit report and other rights you have.
- Mark your calendar.
The fraud alert stays on your report for one year. You can get a new one after one year.
If you have any questions regarding either a credit report freeze or fraud alert, please direct them to your accountant or other financial or legal advisor. While the NCCFT is happy to provide you with this information, we cannot advise you on your personal circumstances.