Adding a Credit Report Fraud Alert

An unanticipated downside of adding a fraud alert to your credit report… a simple solution to phishing scams… and more: Internet ScamBusters™ #135

Today we’re going to share some very good advice from a few of our subscribers. We’ve been collecting these excellent hints and decided today was the perfect time to share them with you. You’ll find out:

– An unanticipated downside of adding a fraud alert to your credit report

– A simple solution to phishing scams

– A small mistake that can cost you when looking for IRS forms

– Another tip on laptop security

However, we first wanted to let subscribers who are BBQ lovers know about a brand new site by one of our associates: The BBQ MythBusters debunk the 15 top myths about BBQ and grilling, including:

Is there a difference between BBQ and grilling? Should you really coat foods with oil before you BBQ? Is using self-starting charcoal for your barbeque really unhealthy? Do BBQ grills harbor bacteria, or is this just a myth? Is it best to BBQ with the cover open or closed? And much more…

Check out BBQ – we hope you enjoy it.

Let’s begin…

An Unanticipated Downside of Adding a Fraud Alert to Your Credit Report

Here’s another perspective on adding a fraud alert from Kristen. To see the article Kristen is responding to on 7 specific things you can do to protect yourself from MasterCard and other credit card fraud, visit now.

I am a finance and insurance manager. I can often approve a customer for a loan without sending it to the bank for underwriting approval. Because the underwriting process is skipped, customers get 1/4% less in interest rate.

If they have a fraud alert on their report, I cannot approve them myself and they will end up paying 1/4% more on their loan.

Therefore, people may want to think carefully about adding these alerts.

Phishing Scams: A Simple Solution

Billy sent this to us — it’s good advice:

I have been a subscriber forever and have personally recommended your newsletter and website to lots of people.

Because I operate several Internet auction websites and sell on eBay, it seems that I am a ‘target’ for every fresh phishing or Internet scam out there.

I would like to offer what I think is the ‘best’ hint on protecting yourself from phishing and spoof emails.

If you are not a person who reports them (I take pride in the speed eBay & PayPal respond to my spoof reports and shut down rogue websites)…


Please tell your readers that the best defense is to ignore phishing emails and delete them.

Here is the reason…

If your bank, PayPal, eBay or any online service that you do business with has a problem with you:

They will automatically tell you the next time you log in.

For instance: If PayPal wants you to update an expiring credit card…

When you log on the ‘nag screen’ will tell you to update the credit card.

Same with the bank or any legit service.

I know that it sounds too simple, but it really is the best way to handle phishing emails. You reach a lot of people and this simple message may help many of them.

Trying to figure out who is who, mousing over a hyperlink to see if a static IP address shows up and all the reading between the lines is for experts.

So just tell people to ignore phishing emails. Thanks.

For IRS Forms – Be Careful What Website You Visit

A good reminder from Frank:

I needed an IRS form, and instead of typing in .gov, I typed in .com, i.e.

This got me a Web page that had the form I needed — but for $3.99.

So I called the IRS and they told me to type in, and then I got my form for free.

I am so used to typing in .com it was just a reaction to habit. I don’t know how many folks wind up paying for a form that is free from the US Government, but it must be lucrative for that company or they wouldn’t do it. I imagine you already know about it, but just in case!

Another Tip on Laptop Security

This good advice comes from Steve…

One extra piece of insurance to prevent laptop loss at airport security: Paste your business card securely to the cover of your laptop.

Since so many laptops look the same and they are all removed from their cases for security checking, this makes it harder to pick up the wrong one. And, if you forget it in the pressure to catch a flight, it’s easier for the airport folks to track you down and return it.

If you missed last week’s article on laptop security, you can find it here.

That’s it for today. Have a great week!