Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dealing With Identity Theft & Fraud

I got a lot of emails some arguing that I "really wasn't a victim of identity theft" and so on. Well lets look at the definition of identity theft: " Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully acquires or uses another person's personal data, typically for their own financial gain. Sometimes it is referred to as "identity fraud" since the criminal impersonates rather than 'removes' the victim's identity.Most commonly, this term is used in relation to credit card fraud although mortgage fraud and other kinds of financial fraud are common. " (

Here are the some steps to follow:

  1. Do not give out personal financial information or other private information to anyone over the phone or online.
  2. Check your credit reports frequently. Remember you get one free credit report a year from each of the three credit bureaus. Visit
  3. Review your credit card bills, and other financial accounts at least once a month.
  4. Look for missing statements in the mail. Switch to e-statements if you prefer.
In case you are a victim of identity theft:
  1. Contact the account administrator and close the account. File a claim.
  2. File a police report. This will be crucial depending on your case.
  3. Contact all three credit bureaus.
  • Equifax: P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348
    Report fraud: Call (800) 525-6285

  • Experian: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
    Report fraud: Call (888) EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

  • TransUnion: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
    Report fraud: (800) 680-7289

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Identity Theft Issue

As I mentioned that I was a victim of identity theft, even though it was just one credit card it was still something. I am going to post a detailed article with steps to follow if you are a victim of identity theft tomorrow. The sooner you act the better it is!

AmTrust Direct CD Rates

I have never used AmTrust but they have very attractive CD rates with low minimums. The highest yield is in the 12 month CD with the 5.71% APY this might be a good option for those who are looking to lock in a good rate. Even their long term CDs have much better rates that other banks. AmTrust Direct is FDIC insured. I am going to look into this any maybe put away some money for a while.

Certificates of Deposit Rates (Copied from the AmTrust Website)

Interest RateAPYCD TermCompound FrequencyMin. to Open
6 Month Promo CD5.459%5.61%6 monthsDaily$1,000.00
9 Month Promo CD5.450%5.60%9 monthsDaily$1,000.00
12 Month Promo CD5.554%5.71%12 monthsDaily$1,000.00
18 Month Promo CD5.402%5.55%18 monthsDaily$1,000.00
24 Month Promo CD5.364%5.51%24 monthsDaily$1,000.00
30 Month Promo CD5.317%5.46%30 monthsDaily$1,000.00
36 Month Promo CD5.289%5.43%36 monthsDaily$1,000.00
60 Month Promo CD5.317%5.46%60 monthsDaily$1,000.00

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New ATM At My Local Bank Of America

There is no deal or bonus here but I just had to share this with everyone. I went to make a deposit at Bank of America and found out that they had installed a new ATM. With this one you do not need a deposit slip or an envelope! It takes your checks one by one and scans them and it counts your cash right away. Thus, for me at least it made all my cash available immediately where as it made a $100 from my check available immediately. Another cool thing: it prints a mini image of your check deposit on your receipt! I just think that was so cool and I have a record of exactly what I deposited! If you bank with BoA go and check out if you have these cool new machines. (I am a sucker for things like these!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Victim of Identity Theft

I recently was a victim of identity theft. I still haven't grasped the idea of what exactly happened but it sill has left me in shock. Someone apparently got hold of my MBNA credit card number and was charging like there was no end. How did I find out? I called to inquire if my payment reached on time and the associate after verifying my identity told me that my card was blocked as there had been some suspicious activity. Blocked? How? What? Apparently they tried to contact me but I had not updated my new number with them, so as a precaution they blocked my card. THANK GOD! After verifying that out of the thousands of $$$ in charges only $4, that's right $4 was mine she informed me that my card was canceled a new card was issued with a new account number. Phewww!

But I still can't figure out how this happened. I never use my cards online. I always use the virtual account numbers that you can generate to buy stuff online. I have read articles where restaurant employees swipe your card and retain the information which they later either sell or use. What a world we live in!

Word of Advice: Check you accounts at least weekly, set up e-alerts if your card issuer offers them. Keep track, if anything seems suspicious call the credit card company or bank immediately.

CD Rates Drop Again

Citibank's 5.50% 6 month CD rates just dropped to 5.25% Whereas GMAC Bank has a 5.40% 12 month CD, their rates are better than Citibank at the moment. ING Direct - Don't even ask! E-Loan has a 5.75% 18 month CD with a $10k min.

As far as savings accounts are concerned in my book E-Loan leads the way with 5.50% and GMAC bankl follows with a 5.25% and coming in third is HSBC DIrect with 5.05% and Citi's 5.00% e-savings account is fourth.

With falling CD rates and no sign of any rate hikes it might be the time to lock in any good rates for a longer period. It has been said that we might see some drop in the prime rate next year which means that we will see a drop in the online savings accounts and CDs.