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Identity Theft : Tips to Protect Yourself

We have all seen identity theft crime appear right in front of our eyes. According to Financial Planning magazine, the Federal Bureau of Investigation considers identity theft to be the fastest growing white-collar crime in America. To avoid being a victim, we plan to publish a regular column on our web site addressing preventive tips you can take to avoid identity theft.

To begin an identity theft prevention program, we suggest ordering a copy of your credit report to verify its accuracy. Most states will provide a free copy of your credit report if you believe you have fallen victim to identity theft. The following states make free credit reports available to their residents regardless of threat: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.

The three organizations that provide credit reports are listed below. Depending upon each organization’s policy at the time of your call, the report will either be free or you will be charged a small fee of $10.00 to $25.00. Upon receiving each credit report, we strongly recommend that you review each entry carefully so that you can detect any discrepancies. If you do discover a problem, contact the credit bureaus immediately to discus what actions to take.

To obtain your credit report, call:

Equifax: (800) 525-6285

Experian: (888) 397-3742

TransUnion: (800) 680-7289

Falling victim to this crime may not only cost you money, but also a significant amount of time attempting to regain your identity. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, on average, a victim of identity theft spends 175 hours restoring his/her good name. We sincerely hope this column will educate and help you to avoid being a victim of this crime.

For further information, contact Louis P. Stanasolovich, CFPä  at (412) 635-9210 or e-mail him at

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