Monday Morning Quarter-Buck
Wow, I can't believe it is Spring and less than a month away from Tax Day!!!
We have some pretty exciting news rolling out of Irvine Wealth Planning Strategies!
First we are very excited to announce that Debbie Konopski has joined the team! In her part-time capacity, Debbie will be your service ambassador. Upon our return this Spring, she will be working Monday and Wednesday at the office, which will allow for Brent to scale back to Tuesday and Thursday. Debbie was born and raised in the Corning / Beaver Dams area and currently lives in Painted Post with her husband Kevin, whom she's been married to for 33 years. She is the proud mother of two grown children and an adorable one-year old granddaughter that is the light of her life. She has several amazing talents in addition to her personality, such as sewing, knitting, and crafts. In fact, she helped in large part, decorate the office on Market Street. We are excited to add her to the team and think you will love visiting with her when you call or stop by.
Second, I am blessed to have family members with amazing talents and I put one of them to work this winter to recreate my website! I am very excited about the new dynamic site and all that it has to offer! Click on over to the new site at www.irvineadvise.com and check it out - we'd love to hear your feedback and if there is anything in particular you'd like to have added!
This weeks Monday Morning Quarter-Buck is being sent out in honor of a friend that had a big scare this past week with identity theft - thankfully, it was caught before it got “too big” to handle, but I couldn’t get it out of my head this weekend and sometimes hearing someone else's story will serve as a motivator to others.
My friend received a letter in the mail - please call us, you may be a victim of identity theft. Is this legit? Is this a scam? He called the number, they did not ask for any sensitive data, just notified him that he might be a victim and he may want to place a fraud alert on his credit report - no additional information. Digest that for a minute - think of the feeling you would have in the pit of your gut. What would your next move be? How do you file a fraud alert on your credit report? Wait, what’s on my credit report?
When the call came into me, the first thing I did was help him sign up for Credit Karma and pull a credit report; what did we find - not one but TWO credit cards he had not applied for AND a recent address change was reported. How’s that gut feeling now? So what did we do?
It took us three tries, but we eventually got through to one of the credit reporting agencies and we placed a 90-day fraud alert on his credit report. This was immediately followed by a note on the calendar to place another 90-day alert in 89 days. Fraud alerts don’t freeze your credit report (which can cause complications), but they do put the agencies on notice that something is amiss and will required any potential creditors to go the extra mile if someone applies for credit in your name.
Signed up for alerts on Credit Karma. If anyone pulls his credit report, he will get notified, if it’s not legitimate, he can immediately notify the creditor. Personally, I have this set up for myself and recently tested it when I was at Macy’s and they offered to give me an additional 15% off my purchase if I applied for their credit card; I hadn’t even finished the purchase and I got an alert that my credit had been pulled!
We wrote letters to the two credit card companies that were listed that he had not applied for and sent them via certified mail.
We contacted the postal service and let them know that a fraudulent change of address had been submitted - they don’t think kindly of this type of activity and responded that they would investigate it as a federal offense.
My friend was “lucky” in that there were no balances on the fraudulent credit cards yet, but that's what they often do - test the waters...see if you notice anything on your credit report. Then, after a few months of dormant activity, they do a change of address - so that you never actually get a statement and it spring boards from there.
Please let this be a learning experience on your end - if you aren’t signed up for a free credit monitoring service, do it now - it takes just moments. Credit Karma is my favorite, but there is also AllClear and Credit Sesame. Do some spring cleaning - pull your credit report and make sure it is clean!
Additional Education Opportunities
For those of you that are interested in additional education on the Psychology of Money, a colleague of mine recently released the following webinar that might make you think about your relationship with money a bit - it’s a great one to share with your family (in my opinion) - click here to watch now.
I also want to mention a great class that is being presented on March 28th called Demolish Debt, presented by Fiscal Fitness Clubs of America. This class may not be for you, but you may know someone who is feeling weighed down by debt. This is a free class at 7 pm, so even working folks can register to attend: click here to find out more details about the class (scroll down to Demolish Debt).