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In a world where fraud is becoming increasingly popular, there is a need for consumer awareness on how to protect themselves and their identities. American Express has put together an Identity Theft Assistance program to help their customers learn to keep their information safe and avoid becoming a victim.
Since fraud hurts consumers and banks alike, it's important that they work together to stop it from happening. Providing this ID Theft assistance helps American Express avoid losses and also helps their customers to take the necessary actions to prevent or identify fraudulent activity.
The three main points the Identity Theft Assistance program focuses on are detecting identity theft, restoring your good name, and preventing identity theft. Taking measures to prevent fraud is a great way to avoid it, but it isn't fool proof. So, AMEX offers information and help for people in recognizing the fraudulent activity as well.
Detect ID Theft
The ID Theft Assistance program offered by American Express helps consumers to detect if they have already become a victim. If a customer believes he has already had his identity stolen, he should contact the credit bureaus to receive copies of his credit report. This will help show how widespread the damage is. It will show all of the accounts in his name and he'll be able to determine if there are any he does not recognize.
Likewise, he'll be able to see if he's had any negative reports on accounts for nonpayment. This is usually the first signal of ID theft. The culprit opens an account in the consumer's name and then makes charges of which the consumer is unaware. Payments are not made and negative reports are listed under his name. If anything suspicious is found, he should begin mailing letters to the bureaus to have his information corrected.
Restore Your Good Name
AMEX offers tips to help victims of ID theft restore his credit. When a consumer has confirmed she has become a victim, she can contact the ID Theft Assistance program at American Express for additional help or tips. Cleaning up her credit will be a frustrating and time consuming matter.
The ID Theft Recovery Toolkit will give step by step information on what a victim can do when she recognizes her identity has been stolen. She should also be sure to contact the Police Department in her local area to inform them of the crime and allow them to begin an investigation. The credit bureaus should also be informed so that they can help her to begin to restore her name. This can take a while, especially if her credit has already been destroyed. She should also close any accounts that appear to be suspect.
Preventing ID Theft
Taking steps to prevent ID theft can save lots of hassle in the long run. Some tips offered by the AMEX ID Theft Assistance program say that customers should lock sensitive information in a safe at home. They should also shred any items that have personal information on them before disposing of them. They recommend reviewing a copy of your credit report every 6 months to ensure there is no suspect activity taking place. They also encourage customers to avoid giving any personal information over the phone and to review their credit card accounts regularly to match up purchases.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express®.