Friday, April 11, 2014

Turbo Charge Your Retirement



Q:Hey, Credit Union Guy, I'm in my 40s and haven't saved nearly enough to prepare for retirement. How can I 'turbo-charge' my retirement savings to catch up?

 A: The good news is that you still have a lot of peak earning years ahead of you. Many people don't hit their professional stride until they reach their 40s, 50s and 60s, and they have their best earning years, by far, late in life. If you qualify for a traditional pension, so much the better, because many systems use your highest-paying three or five years to calculate your benefits. These traditional pensions, however, are getting quite rare.
   
The bad news is this: Interest rates are at or near record lows. That's great for borrowers, but it makes things a lot harder on savers. Chances are, you will need to save a lot more money to generate a given level of retirement income than your forebears did a generation or two ago.


Here are some ideas: 
Rein in spending sharply. Learn to enjoy cooking, rather than eating out. Cut back on cable TV packages and take up exercise instead. The lower your monthly expenses, the more free cash flow you will have available to invest. All solutions to your problem start with this one step.
  

Pay down consumer debt and credit card debt. With credit card interest rates in the high 20s for some people, this is often the very best return on your investment you can get. Every dollar you pay down in credit card debt sooner or later nets you a return on investment equal to the interest rate on the card - with no risk, and no taxes due. Pay it off early and keep your future dollars.
  

Next, make sure you are making the most of your tax-advantaged retirement savings opportunities. Are you working for someone else? Increase your 401(k) contributions. Maximize your IRA or Roth IRA contributions if you are eligible.


Do you own your own business? Can you start one? If so, you have some additional options: You can form and contribute to a SEP IRA, or simplified employee pension plan. This plan allows you to contribute up to 25 percent of your income from the business into a SEP IRA, or up to $49,000 per year, tax deductible. No taxes are due until you take the money out. Some businesses may be better off forming a SIMPLE IRA or Solo 401(k), depending on the specifics. Consult a qualified financial advisor with experience in retirement planning to find out which alternative is most appropriate for you and which will enable you to maximize your contributions.
  

Want more ideas? If you are self-employed and have your own business, you have few or no employees and a steady stream of cash flow, you can make nearly unlimited tax deductible contributions to an insured pension fund, under Section 412(i) of the Internal Revenue Code. (Make sure you have an experienced advisor working with you on these. This might not be a job for your nephew who is just getting started in the life insurance business).

Have you spoken to your investment advisor about the growth in your account? How much risk can you honestly accept? The saying is the higher the risk the higher the yield. Is that risk and the stress worth the yield? A good advisor will set you up with some options that can mitigate or modify your risk. 
  

Are you renting? It might be time to buy. That may sound expensive now, but interest rates are extremely low as of this writing. Even if rates rise to five percent or more, it would still be historically low. If you're in your 40s, you will have that 30-year mortgage paid off in your 70s. At that time, you may want to convert the equity in your home to a stream of income via a reverse mortgage. It's not for everyone, but if you rent rather than buy, you won't have that option. You can make that decision when you get there.
  

Above all, save money. Squirrel money away every way you can. Cash is still king, and there's no substitute for healthy cash reserves in your credit union account, whether in checking, certificates or other conservative savings options. You might not get a great return, but it's safe, secure and steady. Most of your success is going to come from controlling spending decisions, rather than from making brilliant investment decisions. Set things up so you don't have to be brilliant to succeed, just prudent.

  
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Meriwest’s Spring Pre-Owned Car Sale is this Weekend!
Sat-Sun: April 12th and 13th
Chesbro Financial Center, San Jose, CA


Sale Hours:
  • Saturday, April 12th:
    9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 13th:
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Event Location:

Take advantage of this special event!
  • Low auto loan rates
  • Huge selection of over 200 quality vehicles
  • Up to 100% financing available for qualified buyers*
  • Fast and friendly service
  • Trade-ins welcome
Plus PRIZES and more!





Friday, March 28, 2014

Zombie Debt

Even Zombies say, "Zombie debt bad!"

Zombies are more popular now than at any time I can remember. There are new zombie movies coming out, zombie games, zombie parties, and even self-defense products for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  There is one more Zombie Threat you must protect yourself from, ZOMBIE DEBT!

Zombie Debt is a collection that has been “termed” off your report. In other words, it has reached its seven year expiration and been removed automatically from your credit report. Then collectors try to call and collect on “Dead Debts” or “Zombie Debts.” It is as if the seven plus year old debt has risen from the grave and come back to haunt us. Imagine your old debts doing the slow zombie shuffle to your door yelling, “Pay me, pay me!”

Zombie Debt Collecting is becoming more common. This is particularly true with people who don’t track their finances well and don’t follow their credit report. Bill collectors are taking advantage of their naiveté and making threats about legal actions if payments don’t start right away. These tactics are working in the lower income communities. Typically they are going after old credit card debt.

Consumers need to know their rights in regards to credit reporting. I present a workshop in the community and at my credit union titled, “The Myths of Credit.” The presentation goes over the top ten myths of credit and an emphasis is put on managing and understanding collections. Too many people don’t understand that a collection can only be collectable for seven years and not beyond that. However, these collection agents continue to attempt to collect debts that are well beyond the seven year period. Also, once families go into an agreement with the collector on a Zombie debt, they need to stick to it and make their payments as the collection agent could now make this a new collection for nonpayment due to the payment agreement/promissory note the consumer might sign.

How should a person handle collection calls and avoid Zombie Collections? Regrettably, it is not as simple as shooting a zombie in the head and ending the threat.

Before a collector calls:

1.       Access your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can access all three bureaus’ reports here. You will never be in the dark about your credit status. You will always know when a collection has gone on to your report and when it expires. This is a free service.

2.       Sign up for CreditKarma.com. They will notify you of any changes in your score and provide the info for those changes; such as a collector “re-aging” a collection or putting an old expired collection back on your report with a new date to make it appear current. This is also  a free service.

When a collector calls:   
  1. Don’t admit to anything. Don’t agree to payments. Your agreement to making payments  or even acknowledging the debt could provide the company the legal right to collect the debt and may reinstate a dead debt and make it a real Zombie!
  2.   Make them identify themselves and the details of the debt they are collecting; dollar amounts and the date the collection became active on your credit report (AKA First date of delinquency: The legal term for the first day a debt goes on your credit report). This date can clue you into whether they are collecting on a Zombie debt.
  3.  Don’t fall for the traps. Agencies will sometimes “re-age” the debt, (reporting the debt to the credit bureau as if it’s new). They might promise to wipe off the “red checkmark” on a credit report, of sometimes do a “bait and switch” where they tack on the balance of a zombie debt to a new credit card offer. 
  4.  Ask them to validate the date and amounts of the collection and send them to you in writing. This should also include asking them for the credit card agreement you signed. Double check the statute of limitations in your state. Generally, seven years is the accepted period of collection. If the debt was discharged thru a bankruptcy they cannot collect it.
  5.  If you have determined that you are not responsible for the debt due to age of the debt or other written agreements such as settled or paid in full, write a letter to the collection agency and inform them that you will not pay the debt and share the reason for it as well as any copies of evidence you have showing the debt is no longer collectible.
  6.  Collectors often like to threaten payees with court. “If you don’t pay this, we will take you to court!” With most modest credit card debts it is just not economically feasible to hire attorneys to go after the payees. This is a common threat with Zombie debt. If your debt is expired and the collector makes this threat, it is an empty threat with nothing to back it up. No one is going to spend big money ($500 per hour!) to hire an attorney and pay for court costs to collect small expired debts.  
  7.  Check your credit report annually. Review it and compare it to the previous year’s report and determine that all items on the report are current and valid.


  *   *   *

Save The Date!
Meriwest Spring Pre-Owned Car Sale
Sat-Sun: April 12th and 13th
Chesbro Financial Center, San Jose, CA
Sale Hours:
  • Saturday, April 12th:
    9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 13th:
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Event Location:
Take advantage of this special event!
  • Low auto loan rates
  • Huge selection of over 200 quality vehicles
  • Up to 100% financing available for qualified buyers*
  • Fast and friendly service
  • Trade-ins welcome
  • Plus PRIZES and more!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Debit Cards vs. the Fraud at Target Stores



With the recent electronic data theft from Target, Neiman Marcus, and others in the 4th quarter of 2013, many people are looking for an alternative to their bank or credit union issued debit card. We are getting a lot of questions like:


  •          How safe is my debit card?
  •          What happens if I find unauthorized electronic debits in my bank statement?  
  •          How do I get reimbursed for unauthorized usage of my card? How long does it take?


Bank customers and credit union members all over the country have concerns about the safety of their data. Let’s be clear here, your financial institution very likely has the best anti hacking software made today. There has not been a significant breach of banking data since 2011. How often are retail merchants the victim of identity theft hackers? It seems like every month we hear about a new breach! 

The problems really lie with the retailers like Target. Their security was so poor the thieves were able to use common malware that had been used before in other data breaches and the bad guys didn't even encrypt where the money was going! Essentially, Target was broken into by an amateurish gang who left all kinds of evidence of what was happening, but Target’s IT department failed to recognize the danger. (See the article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  for a story on the methods of the thieves.) 

Target will not be paying for anyone’s monetary losses resulting from the fraud. They won’t be paying the millions of dollars it cost the financial institutions to replace all the compromised debit and credit cards. Retailers have no responsibility to their customers when there is a data breach. For many of you this is a very surprising revelation but that is how it works today. The financial institutions are forced to pay for their customer’s losses after a hacker has broken into the merchant’s computerized payment system. Target’s breach cost banks and credit unions $200 million so far! It cost credit unions in Wisconsin $750,000 alone. The numbers for California are still being calculated.

(Okay, I am done with my “I am so mad at Target’s weak data protection.” screed. Now, let’s talk about Debit Card security.)

The debit card is a viable alternative for paying in store charges as well as preauthorized transfers. When managed properly, it has very strong anti-fraud/anti-theft procedures. The Federal regulation known as Regulation E provides consumer protections for fraud against unauthorized use of a debit card. One has 60 days from the issuance of their account statement in which the problem or error occurred to contact their financial institution and file a Reg E complaint. This is true for banks and credit unions.

Once the complaint is filed it takes about 48 hours for most institutions to issue provisional credit to their clients for the disputed items. Each will have a different procedure so you should make yourself familiar with the procedure at your institution. The reimbursement is pending an investigation into the fraud. Most investigations are completed within 10 days resulting in final credit or revocation of credit. Reg E limits a consumer's liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers, such as those arising from loss or theft of an access device, to $50; if the consumer fails to notify the depository institution in a timely fashion (>60 days after the statement was issued), the amount may be $500 or unlimited.

The key to this is that customers of banks and credit union members need to keep an eye on their accounts. It is so much easier today than 10 or 15 years ago as we now have online and mobile banking. Our customers and members can keep up on their accounts while on the run and be able to address any inconsistent transactions immediately with their institution. The faster someone reports an unauthorized transaction, the faster the institution can reimburse them.

One of the reasons credit cards are being pushed as a payment alternative is that the credit card companies are pushing this issue and have been for many years. My friends at Visa would want people to pay all their bills and groceries with a credit card and then write one check at the end of the month to pay all. According to the credit card companies this protects your checking account from being exposed to fraud. Of course, the credit card companies would be very pleased if you could only pay a portion of their bill. Then the consumer will be paying interest and that is the issuers’ primary desire!

For domestic payments, I would use my debit card and keep a close watch on my checking account thru my online banking program. I would definitely use a credit card when traveling internationally.

*   *   *

Our Next Free Teen Financial Education Class:
Real World Budgeting for Teens and College Students
Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 10:00 -11:00 a.m.
Chesbro Financial Center, San Jose, CA

Attend this FREE, fun and interactive class made just for teens! Various life scenarios involving everyday finances are covered:
  • Learn how to make wise money decisions when starting an "adult life".
  • Learn tips and find out the steps on how to rent that first apartment.
  • Learn the best tricks for making ends meet when you are on your own.
  • Find the hidden costs of being on your own.
  • Learn how saving money can improve your lifestyle.
  • Learn how your down payment on your first car can effect your payment and interest rate.
Teens, learn what it's like to be on your own in the real world!

Parents are also welcome to attend.

RSVP today to Greg Meyer, Community Relations Manager - gmeyer@meriwest.com or call (408) 365-6328


Friday, February 28, 2014

Minors with Credit Cards-Good idea?


As minors cannot sign a contract until they are 18 they cannot be involved as a co-signer on a card. A parent cannot cosign for their kids as the kids cannot sign on to the card with them. Cosigning for your kids is a relatively straightforward process, both of you will be on the application and both will sign. The parent’s credit will be evaluated for approval. If it is approved, the proper management of the card and the parent’s credit background will elevate their adult child’s credit score. Of course, if the card is not managed well or the parents have a lapse in managing their credit, that can be detrimental  to the young person’s credit score. 
 
 

However, being younger than 18 does not lock a young person out of having a credit card. They can be placed on an established credit card as an authorized signer. This gives them all the rights of usage without the responsibility. But it will start to build their score for them provided the parent has a good score to start with. Yes, the minor can start building that FICO score while they are a minor. The best option:  Parents can remove the minor from the account anytime they wish! 
 

This is especially helpful when the card has been misused.

 
The major disadvantage of minors with credit cards is their occasional lack of responsibility. They might use the card for parentally unauthorized usages like a Miley Cyrus concert or go hog wild buying MP3’s on iTunes or Amazon. There are a variety of opportunities for minors to misuse a card. It is up to the parent to ensure the child understands the limitations and responsibilities related to managing the card and teach them how their current authorized usage will benefit them in their adult life.

 
One option that families have in training their kids to manage money is the Meriwest Credit Union Flow Card. The Flow Card is an electronic checking account (no checks allowed) that is managed by a parent and their child. Flow Cards come with free online banking, online bill pay, and mobile banking options. Your child cannot overdraft a Flow Card! The account is ideal for those students who are aged 13-24 years old. It gives parents an opportunity to teach their kids about managing money with a debit card as the parent and the kid will both have access to the account information. This is good training for eventually managing a credit card.

 
Meriwest Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender. All accounts are insured by the NCUA to $250,000.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love, Money, and Joint Tenants

I can understand why married couples are often opting for separate accounts when it comes to consumer credit such as car loans and credit cards. It is mainly because the errors of one spouse normally don’t have an effect on the other spouse’s credit. If a husband has a late payment, it won’t affect his spouse’s credit. That is until they buy a house. The house is a major purchase in which both parties are deeply involved. This usually takes both incomes to make the purchase, thus both spouses are applying for credit jointly. It is usually at that point that a lot of couples start combining their credit.

But in this modern age, there are couples who are maintaining completely separate finances. There may be a variety of reasons for this. As mentioned above, a spouse may have very bad credit or perhaps even a bankruptcy on their record. The spouse may have problems managing a checking account and has repeated overdrafts or had written checks on non-sufficient funds. Many couples find that the best solution is to have a joint account in addition to each keeping an individual account.

A creditor can be justified in attaching those jointly held funds to pay a debt that only one spouse may have incurred. If a marriage is foundering or if a couple has severe disagreements about how to manage money, they may want to maintain separate accounts. With joint accounts, either party can "clean out" the other simply by withdrawing all the funds in the account.

As for savings, checking, and investment accounts it is wise to hold vesting as Joint Tenants or as a Totten Trust. In the case of a joint account, both parties, or tenants, are each other’s beneficiary. Each one is an owner of the account with equal rights of ownership and transaction.

One might explain Joint Tenancy as: Each tenant owns 100% of the account. Should one owner die, the other has the “right of survivorship” and will take over the funds without probate upon the death of the other joint owner. This is the most common form of account vesting for married couples here in California.

A Totten Trust places a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries on an account. In the case of the accountholder’s demise, the funds go directly to the beneficiary without having to go through probate. It is a very simple process. In the case of multiple beneficiaries  the funds are divided equally between them. A Totten Trust can be very helpful when a couple is hesitant to have joint accounts for any reason but do wish to leave their assets to each other.

Of course, the difference is that in the Totten Trust the beneficiary has no rights to transact on the account while the accountholder is alive. In a joint account, each joint owner has equal rights to transact on the account.

If you have a complex estate or have multiple beneficiaries, it may be helpful for you to have a Family Trust or what is also known as a Revocable Living Trust. These types of trusts allow you to have very detailed instructions on how your estate is distributed. For more information on Living Trusts, please contact an attorney who specializes in family and trust law.

Love is good but it does not pay the bills or pay them on time, nor is love a good retirement planner. Sometimes love has to take a back seat to the realities of financial acumen and management. Today more than ever, your choice of a spouse can make a difference in the way you approach your finances. A spouse with poor credit and poor money skills who lack savings or a 401k could create an uphill battle for spouses who are good at money management. Let’s keep in mind that 70% of all marital arguments are about money! Ouch! Money is often cited as the cause of divorce.

One thing I have heard that is encouraging: If nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce, then over 50% last forever! That’s a stat I can live with.

Financial questions to ask before getting married
Questions you might ask yourself prior to making this financial decision:
  • Do I want a joint account with this person?
  • Do I trust this person to communicate with me about our spending plan?
  • How did his/her parents manage money?
  • How well does this person manage money?
  • Does this person take risks with their investment money or are they conservative? Has this person had a big loss due to a poor investment decision?
  • Will you pay the bills together or is one person to be responsible for them? Which way are you most comfortable?







 *   *   *
FREE Financial Education Class JUST for Teens

Teens: Learn what it's like to be on your own in the Real World.


Whether you're starting high school or about to graduate from college, learn the necessary skills to start making smart money decisions.

Teenagers learn about the real world of
living on their own!
Teens learn what it's like to really live on their own and learn about budgets and how to maintain a good credit rating

Real World Budgeting
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
6:30-7:30 p.m.


Meriwest Credit Union
Chesbro Financial Center
5615 Chesbro Avenue
San Jose, CA 95123


Attend this FREE, fun and interactive class made just for teens! Various life scenarios involving everyday finances are covered:
  • Learn how to make wise money decisions when starting an "adult life".
  • Learn tips and find out the steps on how to rent that first apartment.
  • Learn the best tricks for making ends meet when you are on your own.
  • Find the hidden costs of being on your own.
  • Learn how saving money can improve your lifestyle.
  • Learn how your down payment on your first car can effect your payment and interest rate.
Teens, learn what it's like to be on your own in the real world!

Parents are also welcome to attend.

RSVP today to Greg Meyer, Community Relations Manager - gmeyer@meriwest.com or call (408) 365-6328

Friday, January 31, 2014

Student Loans: Think Before You Borrow




The total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the United States now tops $1 trillion. To make matters worse, recent graduates have been emerging from colleges and universities, with diplomas in hand, into one of the worst job markets in living memory.


Yes, we have had higher unemployment rates in years past: It reached 12 percent during the height of the 1981-82 recession. But that recession was over relatively quickly. And we have never had the combination of stubborn unemployment, underemployment and high student loan debt that we have today.

College costs have been outpacing incomes for a generation, fueled in no small part by the easy access to credit for college costs. The federal government has sought for years to make college more accessible for middle and working-class families. It routinely provides generous guarantees against default for student loans. However, the more money that’s available for any commodity, the higher consumers will bid up the prices for it, and education is no different.

Many of today’s students are having difficulty in making the payments on their student loans once they’ve graduated or left college. This is particularly true of humanities and arts graduates, who could wind up working low-skill service jobs that pay wages that are not designed to support a hefty student loan payment and the raising of a family.

As a result, the rates of default on student loans are soaring. An October 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Education notes that 13.1 percent of student loan borrowers have defaulted within three years of graduating. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that over 14 percent of Americans aged 20 to 24 are unemployed. That figure drops to 7.9 percent for 25-34 year-olds – but a large number of them are underemployed.

Bankruptcy is Not an Option
Most people who get into debt over their heads can seek refuge in America’s generous bankruptcy laws. Low-income individuals who can’t pay credit card debt or consumer loans, for example, can file a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy and discharge some or all of the debt. They are allowed to keep a limited amount of assets with which to start over.

But federally-guaranteed student loan debt is not normally dischargeable through bankruptcy. The courts only discharge federally-guaranteed student loan debt in the event of extreme hardship.

How You Can Protect Yourself
Consider your employability after graduating. Some fields, such as psychology for example, tend not to pay well until you have a master’s degree. Here are a few additional tips to consider:

  • Lean towards STEM majors. That is, science, technology, engineering and math. These fields provide students with hard skills that are more marketable to employers.
  • Don’t co-sign student loans for your children if you cannot afford the risk of default – especially if they won’t be obtaining a marketable degree, or one that is not from a recognized, accredited institution.

Scholarships

A scholarship can make a big difference in the costs of your schooling. A $10,000 Cal Grant can pay $2,500 in tuition annually. That is $10,000 that does not have to come out of your pocket or borrow in a student loan and pay interest on! Also, many credit unions offer scholarships and student cash awards. Meriwest Credit Union has an annual Essay Competition that offers up to a $1,000 cash award for winning entries. We are preparing to announce the winners of our 2013 Essay Contest in February.

If you know a high school student or are one currently and wish to participate in our contest next year, put a mark on your calendar in September and watch our Meriwest Messenger Newsletter and emailed announcements for details.

  • Make maximum use of scholarships and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Tip: Some veterans with the Post 9/11 GI Bill are able to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to family members. If you have a veteran in your family, explore this option.
  • Here is a great site for scholarships: http://www.collegescholarships.org/
*   *   *
Have you made your IRA contribution yet? Yes, it is that time of year. Our Financial Service Representatives are ready to assist you in making your annual contribution. 

This is also a good time to do an annual review your investment portfolio. Meriwest Credit Union can connect you with licensed Financial Consultants* who are available to help you and share a second opinion on your personal and retirement investments. 

Comprehensive financial planning, long-term and short-term investment strategies and retirement planning are available to all of our members on a confidential basis. They can also help with your education planning. How much will it cost to send your child to college in ten years? Our Financial Consultants can help with those answers.

You can discover your options by meeting with one of the registered representatives in the convenience of any of our Meriwest financial centers or by calling (408) 866-1002.

* Security and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGA Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. The products offered are not insured by the NCUA, NCUSIF or any other regulatory agency, are not deposits or obligations of, nor guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity, and may lose value.


Friday, January 17, 2014

What do you know about Identity Theft?




With the recent news about Target and Neiman Marcus getting their customer records hacked, we thought it was the right time to focus our blog on identity theft.  
Today we present some important statistics about identity theft. As you read some of these frightening numbers, I hope you will take some extra time to consider what you and your family are doing to prevent yourselves from being victims. 
Recent Identity Theft Statistics
Compiled from the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics 
·         As many as 12 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually. That’s over 32,000 victims per day.  
·         About 15% of ID theft victims don’t find out for four years.   
·         85% of incidents involved the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank information.  
·         Nearly $250 billion a year is lost by businesses who are victims of identity theft 
·         14% of victims experienced an out of pocket expense of >$1. About half of those experienced losses of more than $100.  
·         On average, a victim of identity theft will lose between $2,000 and $14,000; victims will subsequently spend an average of $851 to $1,400 in expenses related to their case.  
·         If 14% took losses of some sort, then 86% were victimized and had to have, at minimum, a new checking account and/or a debit or credit card re-issued for them. The costs of these replacements are generally born by the financial institution.  
·         Over 50% of victims have most of their issues solved after 24 hours. About 29% spend about a month resolving problems.  
·         The total average of time spent repairing the damages realized through identity theft is approximately 330 hours.  
·         50% of identity theft victims experience trouble getting loans or credit cards as a result of identity theft.  
·         20% of victims will experience higher credit card rates, while 16% of identity theft victims have higher insurances rates because of the theft.  
·         72% of identity theft victims will have trouble resolving or terminating the negative information left on their credit reports or other information left on their personal records.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
Step One: Contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus
·    Experian (TRW) 888-397-3742
·    TransUnion 800-680-7289
·    Equifax 800-525-6285
Step Two: Contact the account issuer in question
·    Ask for the fraud/security department of the compromised or fraudulent account issuer.
·    Notify them by phone and in writing.
·    Close all tampered or fraudulent accounts.
·    Ask about replacement cards.
Step Three: Contact your local police department
·    Notify the police department in the community where the identity theft occurred.
·    Obtain copies of all police reports made.
Keep a detailed log of all contacts:
·    Location called.
·    Name of person(s) you spoke to.
·    Title and call back number with extension.
  • Ask and write down what the procedures are for that entity.
*    *    *
The Credit Myths Workshop provides you with information on the top ten myths of managing credit. Join us to bust some myths and catch up on the latest methods of managing and protecting your personal credit.  

Our next FREE Credit Myths financial education workshop will take place:

January 22nd 6:30 pm 

Meriwest Credit Union Main Office Training Room

5615 Chesbro Ave

San Jose CA 95123 

To RSVP, please contact Greg Meyer at gmeyer@meriwest.com or 408-365-6328