Run Your Own Credit Check | Local News

Why do hackers work so hard and tirelessly to break into the data files of government agencies, banks, hospitals, retailers, or anyone who stores digital information?

Very often, these hackers are looking for people’s personal information stored in these systems. Information such as names, mailing addresses, email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, credit card numbers and the most prized find of all – social security numbers.

Hackers need this type of personal information to commit identity theft. Usually, this identity theft involves scammers opening credit card accounts or other credit accounts in the unsuspecting victim’s name.

If this happens to you, it’s quite possible that you won’t find out that something went wrong for months or even years. One practice that helps us better monitor who might be using our identities is to periodically check our credit reports. When you check your credit report, you can see if someone is misusing your personal information to charge credit card fees or open new credit card accounts. These new accounts do not always involve credit cards. Stolen identities are sometimes used to open phone accounts or other public services.

Now, it’s easier than ever to check your credit report. Until the end of 2022, everyone in this country can get a free report every week, from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion and Equifax. There are two easy ways to request your credit report:

• Go online to

• Dial 1-877-322-8228.

The online option is very fast. Either way, you’ll need to provide information, including your social security number, and answer a few verification questions to assure the credit bureaus that you are who you say you are.

Look carefully at these reports. Do you recognize the posted accounts? Do you remember applying for credit as shown? If you see something you don’t understand or recognize, contact the credit bureau, or the company or lender, and ask for more information. Be sure to dispute any errors and have the record corrected.


The Federal Trade Commission tells us that refunds are still available for people who were deceived by scammers between 2004 and 2017. The commission and the US Department of Justice sued Western Union for failing to protect against the fraud within its system and won $586 million. judgment in 2017. The court wanted that money returned to those who had lost money in scams and frauds, which used Western Union money transfers as a way to transfer money from the unwary to the unscrupulous.

The claims process remains open until July 1, 2022. You can file a claim online at You can also visit this website for answers to questions about the claims process. You can also contact me and I will give you all possible help to ensure that your request is taken into account. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2004, and maybe the details of a scam from 15 years ago seem hazy now, but we can search police records for any reports you’ve made. and use these reports as the basis for your claim.

Western Union money transfers have been the tool of choice for peddlers for far too long, but a series of government regulatory enforcements against them and their competitor, Moneygram, have drastically reduced their appeal to criminals.


Let me know about any scams, cheats or other scams you come across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, 242-9211, Ext. 4433, or email me at [email protected]

Randy Meier is the director of Seniors vs. Crime, which operates in conjunction with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.

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