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» Best Weapon against Identity Theft
» Best Weapon against Be Rip-Off
» Request your medical information file, free once annually
» Stop telemarketing companies call your home
» Your right! Stop them sharing your information
» How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Fishing’ Scam
» Employment and Job Information
» Social Security Fraud Information

Best Weapon against Identity Theft


If you are victim of fraud or suffer identity theft put a security freeze on your credit report. See if your state gives you this important weapon to prevent identity theft. A security freeze lets you stop thieves from getting credit in your name by locking or freezing access to the consumer credit report and credit score. Without this information, a business will not issue new credit to a thief. When the consumer wants to get new credit, he or she uses a PIN to unlock access to the credit file. For available in your State, check

» http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html Under federal law, everyone can obtain a free annual copy of their credit report (not include your credit score) from each of the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your reports.

Best Weapon against Be Rip-Off


Victim of a consumer Rip-off ? Want justice ? Rip-off Report™ is a worldwide consumer reporting Website & Publication, by consumers, for consumers, to file & document complaints about companies or individuals who ripoff consumers. Unlike the Better Business Bureau, bad businessbureau.com / Rip-off Report™ does not hide reports of "satisfied" complaints. ALL complaints remain public in order to create a working history on the company or individual in question; unedited. Rip-off Reports cover every category imaginable. http://ripoffreport.com

Request your medical information file, free once annually


MIB will provide consumers with record disclosure once annually without charge! To obtain free disclosure, you must call MIB’s toll-free phone number listed below. A few things to bear in mind before you call are:

If you have not applied for individually underwritten life, health, or disability insurance during the preceding seven year period, MIB will not have a record on you. They will ask you for personal identification information to assist them in locating a record, if one exists. Also may validate the identification information that you provided with other consumer reporting agencies. Finally, you will be asked to certify under penalty of perjury that the information you provided about yourself to request MIB disclosure is accurate, complete and you represent that you are the person that is requesting disclosure. They toll-free number for disclosure is 866-692-6901
(TTY 866-346-3642 for hearing impaired). Upon receipt of your (a) request for a Record Search and Disclosure, and (b) proper identification, MIB will initiate the disclosure process and provide you with:

• the nature and substance of information, if any, that MIB may have in its files pertaining to you;
• the name(s) of the MIB member companies, if any, that reported information to MIB; and,
• the name(s) of the MIB member companies, if any, that received a copy of your MIB record during the twelve (12) month period preceding your request for disclosure.

Stop telemarketing companies call your home


Consumers who wish to decrease the amount of unsolicited telemarketing calls they receive should register with the Federal Trade Commission's National

For “Do Not Call Registry” login on www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.

Telephone marketers and their service providers must honor the requests of consumers who have placed their telephone numbers on the Federal Trade Commission's national Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry. There may be a number of reasons why you still might be getting calls even if you've placed your telephone number on this registry. For more information, please review they fact sheet at:
www.dmaconsumers.org/stillgettingcalls.shtml. This "do not call" file is updated monthly and distributed four times a year -- January, April, July, and October (some companies receive it monthly). Your name remains on the file for five years. Typically you will see the amount of telemarketing calls you receive begin to decrease approximately three months after your name is entered onto the quarterly file. You are likely to see the impact of TPS faster if you register online than if you mail in your registration. Also, if you change your telephone number, you must register your new number with TPS to have it affect your new telephone number.

Your right! Stop them sharing your information


You always have the right to tell Financial Institutions to stop sharing…

Financial companies share information for many reasons: to offer you more services, to introduce new products, and to profit from the information they have about you. If you like to know about other products and services, you may want your financial company to share your personal financial information; in this case, you don’t need to respond to the privacy notice. If you prefer to limit the promotions you receive or do not want marketers and others to have your personal financial information, you must take some important steps.

What Can You Stop--and What Can’t You Stop?

Federal privacy laws give you the right to stop (opt out of) some sharing of your personal financial information. These laws balance your right to privacy with financial companies’ need to provide information for normal business purposes. You have the right to opt out of some information sharing with companies that are:

• Part of the same corporate group as your financial company (or affiliates)
• Not part of the same corporate group as your financial company (or non-affiliates).

But you cannot opt out and completely stop the flow of all your personal financial information. The law permits your financial companies to share certain information about you without giving you the right to opt out. Among other things, your financial company can provide to non-affiliates:

• Information about you to firms that help promote and market the company’s own products or products offered under a joint agreement between two financial companies
• Records of your transactions--such as your loan payments, credit card or debit card purchases, and checking and savings account statements--to firms that provide data processing and mailing services for your company
• Information about you in response to a court order
• Your payment history on loans and credit cards to credit bureaus.

Credit bureaus may also sell information about you to lenders and insurers who use the information to decide whether to send you unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. This is known as prescreening. You can opt out of receiving these prescreened offers by calling 1-888-567-8688. If you want to opt out of information sharing, you must follow the directions provided by your financial company. For example, you may have to call a toll-free number or fill out a form and return the form to the company. In some cases, your financial company may give you the choice to opt out of different types of sharing. For example, you could opt out of certain categories of information the company provides to other companies but allow the company to share other kinds of information

Getting off mailing lists/Mail Preference Service…

To receive less national advertising mail, you can register for the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA's) Mail Preference Service (MPS). You will see a great reduction in the unsolicited mail you receive, not all commercial mail will stop. You may continue to receive mail from companies with which you already do business and from non-DMA member companies that do not use our service. In addition, you may continue to receive mail from local merchants, professional and alumni associations, political candidates and office holders, and mail addressed to "resident/occupant." Please note that MPS applies only to home addresses, not business addresses. To register by mail, fill out a mail in registration form with all required information as complete name, complete address, and email for confirmation, and send to: DMA to Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512 with a check or money order of $1 (one dollar). If you would like to stop receiving pre-approved credit offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Note: You will be asked to provide your Social Security number; the consumer reporting companies need it to match you with your file.

Where Else to Turn for Help…

Get your Legal Documents Online for up to 85% less than Lawyer Fees If you have questions or concerns about a company’s privacy policy, first contact that company directly. If you still have questions about your privacy rights in dealing with a financial company, you can contact the federal or state agency that oversees that type of company:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Regulates state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System, bank holding companies, and branches of foreign banks
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Stop 801
20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
202-452-3693
www.federalreserve.gov

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Regulates commodity brokers, commodity trading advisors, commodity pools, and introducing brokers
Privacy Officer, Office of Chief Counsel
Division of Trading and Markets
Three Lafayette Center
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
202-418-5430
www.cftc.gov

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Regulates state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System
Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
877-ASK-FDIC or 877-275-3342 toll-free
www.fdic.gov

Federal Trade Commission
Regulates any financial company not covered by the other federal regulators such as mortgage brokers, tax and investment services, finance companies, credit bureaus, nonbank lenders, auto dealers, leasing companies, appraisers, real estate settlement services, credit counseling services, and collection agency services
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
877-FTC-HELP or 877-382-4357 toll-free
www.ftc.gov
also see www.consumer.gov/idtheft/

National Credit Union Administration
Regulates federally chartered credit unions
Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
703-518-6330
www.ncua.gov

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Regulates national banks, District of Columbia banks, federal branches and federal agencies of foreign banks, and subsidiaries of such entities. These typically include banks with "national" or "N.A." in their names.
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street
Suite 3710
Houston, TX 77010
800-613-6743 toll-free
www.occ.treas.gov

Office of Thrift Supervision
Regulates federal savings and loan associations and federal savings banks
Consumer Programs
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
800-842-6929 toll-free
www.ots.treas.gov

Securities and Exchange Commission
Regulates brokerage firms, mutual fund companies, and investment advisors
Office of Investor Education and Assistance
450 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549-0213
202-942-9634 fax
www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml

How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Fishing’ Scam


» “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”

» “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”

Have you received email with a similar message? It’s a scam called “fishing” — and it involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, fishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you may deal with — for example, an Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information. Some fishing emails threaten a dire consequence if you don’t respond. The messages direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site. But it isn’t. It’s a bogus site whose sole purpose is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

The FTC suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a fishing scam:

If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply. And don’t click on the link in the message, either. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address yourself. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link from the message into your Internet browser — fishers can make links look like they go to one place, but that actually send you to a different site.

Use anti-virus software and a firewall, and keep them up to date. Some fishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Anti-virus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It’s especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Operating systems (like Windows or Linux) or browsers (like Internet Explorer or Netscape) also may offer free software “patches” to close holes in the system that hackers or fishers could exploit.

Don’t email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fishers have forged security icons.

Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.

Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.

Forward spam that is fishing for information to spam@uce.gov and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the fishing email. Most organizations have information on their websites about where to report problems.

Employment and Job Information


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With more than 1.7 million jobs and over 400 occupational specialties - excluding postal service and military workers, the Federal Government offers more choices than any other single employer in the United States. Whatever your interest and background, you can probably find a Government career to match.

If you’re looking for a job, consider the Nation’s largest employer. Each year, the Federal Government hires thousands of new workers. Here’s how to become one of them.

People get jobs in the Federal Government in the same way that they get most jobs in the private sector: by finding openings and submitting a resume or application. But searching for a Federal job can be more complicated than other job searches. That’s because of regulations designed to keep the hiring process fair. Job titles are standardized. Resumes are more detailed. And job qualifications are more specific.

Resumes with a Federal Twist

A resume for a Federal job includes all of the information in a standard resume, plus some additional details. These resumes are often two to four pages, which is longer than the 1- to 2-page resumes typical in the private sector. Creating a resume involves gathering the required information and putting it in the right format. Get Started Now with e-resume.net

Gathering the facts - If you have a standard resume, you already have most of the information you need. But Federal agencies ask for more information than most other employers do. Resumes and applications for Federal employment must include the following:

• Contact information. As you would on any resume, you must list your full name, address, and telephone number. But you also need to provide your Social Security number and country of citizenship. If you are applying for a job that is located far from your current address, indicate a willingness to relocate. Otherwise, some agencies might eliminate your application.

• Job facts. Copy the announcement number, position title, and grade level from the vacancy announcement. If the announcement lists more than one grade level, state the lowest level you would accept. For example, if the announcement describes the job as "GS-5/7," decide whether you would take the GS-5 or if you would only accept a GS-7. Be sure you qualify for the level you choose, however. If you pick a level that is too high, you will not pass the first screening. If the level you pick is too low, the agency will most likely upgrade you automatically.

• Work experience. For each past job, give the standard information found in most resumes. Specifically, state the job title, starting and ending dates (including month and year), employer's name and address (or write “self employed,” if that applies), and major duties and accomplishments.

In addition to that information, a resume for a Federal job also must show the average number of hours worked per week or simply state “full time”; salary or wage earned; supervisor's name, address, and telephone number; and whether your most recent supervisor may be contacted. If you have had past jobs in the Federal Government, include the occupational series numbers and the starting and ending grades of those positions.

If you have relevant volunteer experience, mention it. In Uncle Sam’s eyes, all experience counts. Consider using titles that show what you did rather than using the generic title of “Volunteer.” Most importantly, describe job duties and accomplishments in a way that proves how you are qualified. Study the vacancy announcement and emphasize the parts of your work history that match the qualifications listed there.

Remember, human resources specialists in the Federal Government might not be familiar with your career field. To help them understand how your experience matches what is required, try using some of the same words found in the vacancy announcement, especially words that describe job duties or qualifications. You also can help them understand your work by spelling out acronyms and other abbreviations.

* Information about federal employment is available online at www.usajobs.opm.gov


Social Security Fraud Information


The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Fraud Hotline provides an avenue for reporting fraud, waste, and abuse within SSA's programs and operations. The SSA OIG Fraud Hotline receives allegations by telephone, regular mail, and facsimile. A form is also available on our website if you wish to submit your allegation to us electronically, the Fraud Reporting Form. Allegations received at the SSA OIG Fraud Hotline are carefully reviewed to determine the most appropriate course of action.

The OIG is an independent law enforcement agency mandated to investigate fraud in SSA programs. Our specialists are trained to take reports regarding allegations of fraud, waste and abuse within Social Security programs and operations. We cannot assist you or intervene in applications for benefits currently pending before SSA. If you have been denied benefits you should use the appellate process provided with your denial notice for contesting that denial. The fact that you have been denied benefits is not the basis for a fraud allegation unless one of the criminal acts listed below is involved.

If you need to speak with someone regarding the denial of benefits, have questions regarding your Social Security Account, would like a replacement SSN card, or are seeking general information about Social Security programs, call (toll free) 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/reach.htm.


* This report was edited by Lindenberg Jr., marketing specialist, Brazilian Culture in U.S consultant, journalist and Soul Brasil magazine editor. Soul Brasil is a printing magazine with circulation in California about universal conscious living, quality of life and Brazilian Culture. To check the website, visit www.soulbrasil.com


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