Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Talk Talk

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Talk Talk

by T.C. Boyle

Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2007, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book

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According to the Javelin/Better Business Bureau Survey of February 2007, 8.4 million USA adults were victims of identity theft fell in 2007, although this is down about 2 million since 2003 it is still an awful lot of people! The total fraud amount was $49 billion, with an average loss of almost $6,000 per person, and an average resolution time of 40 hours.

A summary of the US Federal Trade Commission's advice on protecting yourself against identity theft.....

Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.

  • Secure personal information in your home, especially if you employ outside help or are having work done on your home.
  • Don't give out personal info on the phone, through the mail or the internet unless you've initiated the contact and are sure you know who you're dealing with.
  • Deposit outgoing mail directly in post office collection boxes. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you cannot pickup mail, call the US Postal Service (1800-275-8777) and request a vacation hold.
  • Tear/shred charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, expired charge cards etc.
  • Opt out of receiving offers of credit in the mail: Call 188-567-8688.
  • If your state uses your SSN as your driver's license number, ask to substitute another number. Do the same with your health insurance company.
  • Be very careful responding to promotions.
  • Keep your purse/wallet safe at work, do the same with administrative forms that have your sensitive personal info

Detect suspicious activity by:

  • Getting a free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 877-322-8228.
  • Routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.

Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect a problem

  • Close financial accounts such as credit cards and bank accounts immediately. When you open new accounts, place passwords on them. Avoid using obvious passwords such as mother's maiden name, birth date, last 4 digits of SSN etc.
  • Call any one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies and put an initial fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Contact driver's license/government card issuers to cancel documents and get replacements. Ask for your file to be flagged so that no one else can take out documents in your name.
  • File a report with the police and the FTC.

Also recommended: The Art of the Steal.

This article was originally published in August 2006, and has been updated for the June 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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