Theft-protection tips for clients of dental HMO

SCAM WATCH

April 13, 2008|By BERNIE KOHN

The Maryland Better Business Bureau says it continues to hear identity theft concerns from customers of CareFirst's The Dental Network HMO, which last month accidentally posted the personal data of 75,000 subscribers on a public Web site.

It offers these tips:

Check your insurance plan. You are only at risk if you have The Dental Network through CareFirst. Simply being a CareFirst member does not put you at risk.

The Dental Network is offering a free year of identity protection service. Enroll through I.D. Safeguards (866-879-7402.) The service includes 12 months of credit monitoring, an insurance reimbursement component of up to $30,000 and fraud restoration services if identity theft does occur.

You can call one of the three credit bureaus and place an alert on your credit reports. You need to notify only one -- they are required to notify the other two.

You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the bureaus each calendar year. This might be a good time to do that to ensure there has been no suspicious activity lately.

You may freeze your account for a $5 fee with each of the three bureaus. You must contact each bureau separately. The freeze goes into effect in three days and will prevent anyone (including you) from opening an account through your credit report. You may remove the freeze by contacting the bureaus directly. There is a $5 fee per bureau to remove the freeze.

The three major credit bureaus: Equifax: 800-685-1111, http:--www.equifax.com; Experian: 888-322-5583, www.experian.com; Transunion: 800-888-4213, http:--www.transunion.com.

Bernie Kohn

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