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AARP Bulletin

Scam Alert

Databases Can Help Spot ID Fraud

Free reports can help you keep your personal information safe

Scam Alert: Spotting ID Theft

Give your personal and financial information extra protection from ID theft by referencing lesser-known consumer reporting bureaus. — J.D. King

En español | You probably know you're entitled to free credit reports at annualcreditreport.com (you can also get them by calling 877-322-8228 toll-free).

Examining a report from the three major credit bureaus once a year, a different report every four months, can help ensure that your personal and financial information is accurate — and not being used by an identity thief.

What you may not know: There are other free annual reports that can help you spot ID theft. Compiled by lesser-known specialty consumer reporting bureaus, these detail a narrower range of information, such as your history of filing insurance claims, writing checks, paying rent and getting medical treatment. They are primarily used by specific industries — for instance, by banks before approving new checking accounts or by insurers before issuing new policies.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, these reports may be yours for the asking once a year. Others may require paying a fee, unless you can show that "adverse action" has been taken against you because of the information on file.

Unlike with annualcreditreport.com, there is no single website to access these specialized reports. You need to contact each company separately. For a master list of some 40 specialty reports, visit the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.

Here are some of the most useful for detecting possible ID theft:

Public records

LexisNexis Personal Reports details public records and other information filed under your name, including property ownership, criminal history, liens and bankruptcy. Mail in a request form, available at personalreports.lexisnexis.com, or call 866-312-8102 toll-free for an overview of the process.

Check-writing history

  •  Certegy Check Systems: Call 866-543-6315 toll-free or go to askcertegy.com
  •  TeleCheck/FirstData: Call 800-366-2425

Health care

  • The Medical Information Bureau reports contain coded listings of your reported medical conditions and tests. Call 866-692-6901 toll-free or go to mib.com. Also contact your health insurer for an annual statement of your claims and treatments. Compare both for clues to possible medical identity theft.
  • For prescription histories in your name, call Milliman IntelliScript at 877-211-4816 toll-free or go to rxhistories.com. Or call Optum MedPoint at 888-206-0335 toll-free.

Insurance claims

  • In addition to the automobile and property insurance sources from LexisNexis Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE), you can check Verisk A-Plus Report. Call 800-627-3487 or go to verisk.com.

Rental history

  • CoreLogic: Call 888-333-2413 toll-free or go to the website at corelogic.com.

Sid Kirchheimer author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.

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