Department of children and families




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DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Division of Safety and Permanence



Child Welfare Credit Remediation Action Packet
Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting agency and the company providing the account / credit are responsible for correcting any inaccurate or incomplete information in a credit report. This packet provides instructions and forms to assist individuals in taking the steps necessary to correct any errors.


  • Read EACH page of the Action Packet. Not all pages will apply to a particular situation but it is important to read each one so that you are familiar with what may be needed.

  • Get two folders in which to keep documents.

  • Label one “ORIGINALS” to keep the originals of all materials compiled. Do not send original documents to anyone. Use the other one for documentation and copier.

  • Begin by making several copies of the charts and forms in this Action Packet on your agency letterhead.

  • Prepare mentally and emotionally. Know that clearing credit history may take many months and can take many hours of time. You may also incur expenses for postage and copying. Keep track of your time and expenses.

  • Understand that you may not be able to speak to a live person when you make telephone calls to credit reporting companies or other businesses. Most of them use automated telephone systems.

  • Send all mail certified, return receipt requested. This can be expensive, but allows you to prove that your letters were received. The form letters have a place at the top to record the certified mail number. This will help match the postal service return cards to copies of the letters. When postal service return card is returned to you, paper clip it to the copy of the letter that matches the card and keep it in your folder.

  • Do not take shortcuts. Follow up phone calls with letters confirming what was said. A document speaks for itself; whereas, you may not be able to prove what happened in a disputed telephone conversation.

When working on behalf of a child you will need copies of your agency identification card as well as driver’s license, if possible. Correspondence should be printed on child welfare agency letterhead. You will also need the last five residences of the child, DOB, Social Security Card and court order for placement.


For a young adult clearing their own credit, they will also need proof of who they are. They will need copies of a driver’s license or government issued ID card, Social Security card and most recent mail (utility bill preferred) with their name on it. They may be asked to prove their residence address for the last five years. The Child Welfare agency can provide this.

Clearing a Foster Youth’s Credit Report

Desktop Guide and Checklist
If you discover that a foster youth is a victim of identity theft or mistaken identity, take the following steps on the youth’s behalf to prevent further harm. Each Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) has varying processes to handle requests for minors when there is an error on the report. Below is a general outline of what to do. Keep a written record with the details of your efforts (Chart Your Course of Action form) and copies of all correspondence.

Child / Youth Name: _____________________________________________________

 Step 1: Upon receiving a report:

  1. Immediately contact each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies to inform them that the information on the report is incorrect since the youth is a minor and did not open the account.

  2. Request that a fraud alert be placed on the report. (This will allow the youth to obtain an additional credit report during the year if needed.)


 Step 2: Send each Credit Reporting Agency, through Certified Mail:

a) Documentation of child’s age such as a court order or birth certificate that verifies identification of the youth (redacting any sensitive information),

b) information on current address and former residences over the last five years,

c) credit report number, and

d) documentation to verify that the youth is in foster care and that the Child Welfare agency is authorized to act on the youth’s behalf (Fraud Alert Request form) indicating which accounts do not belong to the youth, that the youth is minor child and that that the accounts listed be removed from the report as well as any application inquiries or collection notices.
 Step 3: Call every company where an account was fraudulently opened or misused to:


  1. Inform them that the individual is a minor, that the account should be closed, and that any collections actions (if applicable) should be closed;

  2. Do not say that you “dispute the account”, instead clearly state that the individual is a minor and never opened the account;

  3. follow up in writing and request a letter stating that the company has closed the invalid accounts and has discharged the fraudulent debts (Notice of Incorrect Account Information Regarding a Minor form). This letter will enable the youth to dispute erroneous charges if errors relating to the account reappear on his credit report in the future. Include police report and / or Identity Theft (ID) Affidavit.

  4. keep copies of all correspondence.


 Step 4: File a police report:

  1. Some legal remedies require filing a police report. Contact local law enforcement to notify them that identity theft has occurred. The report is helpful in providing verification to companies that the individual was a victim of identity theft. It also allows for a credit freeze to be put on the account, protecting the youth against future accounts being opened.



 Step 5: Contact each of the three CRAs directly to request a credit freeze.

  1. CRAs may charge $10 for each security freeze, temporarily lifting a freeze for a period of time (e.g. youth turns 18 and wants to open an account of some kind) or removing it. Victims with a police report may be able to have the fee waived. (The freeze will have to be lifted before the youth applies for student or auto loans, an apartment, job, etc.)

 Step 6: File a report (Identity Theft Affidavit) with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):



  1. www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338)

  1. File a copy of the ID Theft Affidavit and attach the police report for future reference.

 Step 7: File an identity theft complaint with the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection:



  1. Follow instructions on webpage: http://privacy.wi.gov/complaints/complaints.html

 Throughout the process:



  1. Confirm all conversations and agreements in writing;

  2. Record names of individuals spoken to. Utilize “Chart Your Course of Action” form to assist you with this;

  3. Keep all documents that support the remediation, receipts of delivery, expenses and copies of correspondence in a file pertaining to the youth that can be accessed by the youth or those who will care / work with the child / youth once he or she leaves out-of-home care.








Fraud Alert Request

Certified Mail Number




Incorrect Credit Report Information Regarding a Minor

     

I am authorized, as a county / tribe / child welfare agency representative in the state of Wisconsin to request a credit report and confirm this youth’s status as a minor in out-of-home care under a dependency order. I have attached a copy of my agency identification and documentation proving the individual’s status as a minor at the time of the transaction.


This notice is being made on behalf of:


Name – Child / Youth (Last)

     


First

     


Middle

     


Suffix

     


Birthdate – Youth (mm/dd/yyyy)

     


Social Security Number – Youth

     


I am providing this letter of verification as a state / county / tribe or child welfare agency (check one)

 Administrator  Case Worker  Supervisor  Designee

to verify that this youth is / was in:


 Foster care / ward of the court from (dates)

     

to

     

and was

 Under the age of majority at the time of transaction(s)

The following account(s) was / were opened without knowledge, permission or authorization, using personal information or identifying documents of said minor and should be closed immediately:

Creditor Name and Address

Account Number

Type of Account

Date Opened

Amount

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     




 It is requested that a fraud alert be placed on the report and remove the first five digits of the Social Security Number from the report and

 Notify all credit reporting agencies.

 I have enclosed a copy of the Police Report and ID Theft Affidavit.














SIGNATURE – Authorized Child Welfare Agency




Date Signed




     




     




Name – Authorized Child Welfare Agency (PRINT)




Telephone Number




     










Title

     










Name – Agency

     










Address – Agency



















SIGNATURE – Youth (OPTIONAL)




Date Signed




Personal information you provide may be used for secondary purposes [Privacy Law, s. 15.04(1)(m), Wisconsin Statutes]. The provision of your social security number is mandatory. Failure to provide your SSN will result in the denial of your request. The department is legally responsible for protecting the confidentiality of personally identifiable information.


This document and any attachments may contain confidential information. Use and further disclosure of the information by the recipient must be consistent with applicable laws, regulations and agreement.

DCF-F-439-E (R. 03/2015)







Notice of Incorrect Account Information Regarding a Minor

Certified Mail Number







     

I am authorized, as a county / tribe / child welfare agency representative in the state of Wisconsin to confirm this youth’s status as a minor in out-of-home care placement under a dependency order and assist in resolving any inaccuracies or fraudulent activity. I have attached a copy of my agency identification.
This notice is being made on behalf of:


Name – Child / Youth (Last)

     


First

     


Middle

     


Suffix

     


Birthdate – Youth (mm/dd/yyyy)

     


Social Security Number – Youth

     


I am providing this letter of verification as a state / county / tribe or child welfare agency (check one)

 Administrator  Case Worker  Supervisor  Designee



to verify that this youth is / was in:

 Foster care / ward of the court from (dates)

     

to

     

.

 Under the age of majority at the time of transaction

The following account(s) was / were opened without knowledge, permission or authorization, using personal information or identifying documents of said minor and should be removed immediately

Account Number

Type of Account

Date Opened

Amount

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

I have enclosed a copy of  Police Report and  ID Theft Affidavit.

Please confirm in writing that all invalid accounts and debts have been discharged to the address below.













SIGNATURE – Authorized Child Welfare Agency




Date Signed




     




     




Name – Authorized Child Welfare Agency (PRINT)




Telephone Number




     










Title

     




Name – Agency

     




Address – Agency



















SIGNATURE – Youth (OPTIONAL)




Date Signed



Personal information you provide may be used for secondary purposes [Privacy Law, s. 15.04(1)(m), Wisconsin Statutes]. The provision of your social security number is mandatory. Failure to provide your SSN will result in the denial of your request. The department is legally responsible for protecting the confidentiality of personally identifiable information.


This document and any attachments may contain confidential information. Use and further disclosure of the information by the recipient must be consistent with applicable laws, regulations and agreement.
DCF-F-439-E (R. 03/2015)
Chart Your Course of Action
Use of form: Use this form to record the steps you have taken to report the fraudulent use of your client's identity. Keep this list in a safe place for reference.


Name – Child / Youth

     


Nationwide Consumer Reporting Companies – Report Fraud

Consumer Reporting Company

Contact Person

Telephone Number

Date Contacted

Date of Fraud Alert

Date of Credit Freeze

Date of Credit Freeze Removal

Comments

Equifax

Fax disputes to: (678) 795-7954.  In order to request fraud alerts or freezes, you may contact (800) 525-6285.  If you need more information contact



melody.creswell@equifax.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Experian

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

TransUnion

Mail disputes to:

Attn: Foster Care Services

1561 E. Orangethorpe Ave.



Fullerton, CA 92831

     

     

     

     

     

     

     




Banks and Creditors

Name of
Company / Creditor


Contact Person

Telephone Number

Date Contacted

Date Account Removed

Address

Comments

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     




Notification of Law Enforcement and Government Authorities

Agency / Department

Contact Person

Telephone Number

Date Contacted

Report Number

Comments

Local police or County Sheriff

     

     

     

     

     

Federal Trade commission form: http://ftc.gov.idtheift

     

877-438-4338 866-653-4261 (TTY)

     

     

     

ID Theft Clearinghouse, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington DC 20580

     

     

     

     

     

* Note that a credit freeze may be lifted temporarily or permanently in order for the young person to open an account once the age of majority is reached. There may be a fee to this.
DCF-F-439 (R. 03/2015)



Minimizing the Risk of Identity Theft

Don’t Become a Victim

Protecting foster youth’s information for agencies / parents

  • Do not routinely carry a copy of child’s Social Security number (SSN) or birth certificate in purse or wallet.

  • Take care to guard foster youths’ information in your files and computers.

  • Minimize the collection of foster youth’s personal information (SSN, DOB, etc.).

  • Keep documents locked (paper) and secure (online).

  • Shred documents before disposing of them.

  • Limit access to foster youth’s information.

  • Keep anti-virus software up to date.

  • Plan for a security breach.

  • Giving out birth dates, home addresses, parents’ names and school name is enough for someone to order a child’s birth certificate and begin the ID theft process.



Protection on social networking sites

  • Teens visiting social networking sites or who are blogging should be educated about what not to say online.

  • Do not give out personal information on social networking sites. Giving out birth dates, home addresses, parent names, etc. is enough for someone to open an account with your information.

  • Do not announce you are going away.

  • Passwords: A password should not be a mother’s maiden name. If this is required, make one up. Use strong passwords: more than 8 characters in length; containing both capital letters and at least one numeric or other non alphabetical character.

  • Set strict privacy controls.



General information on protection

  • Do not leave credit cards or credit card receipts lying around.

  • Do not write account numbers on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.

  • Do not give your account number over the phone unless you made the call to the company.

  • Do not share SSN unless absolutely necessary (employment, loan application, etc.).

  • Reconcile accounts / statements monthly.

  • If you move, complete a change of address form at the post office.

  • Limit the documents, cards, identification you carry with you.

  • Shred personal documents (e.g. bank statements, checks, insurance forms, credit applications, etc.) rather than throwing them in the garbage.

  • Deposit outgoing mail in post office boxes instead of from an unsecured mailbox and remove mail promptly.

  • Lock up financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock wallet in a safe place at work. Keep information secure from roommates or workers who come into your home.

  • If you get an email that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message.

  • Only shop on trusted internet sites.

Child Welfare Credit Remediation Action Packet

Terms and Resources
Block: Putting a “block” on a credit report suppresses identity theft related information from appearing on it.
Credit Freeze: A company may not look at an individual’s credit report for the purposes of establishing new lines of credit. This will affect the individual’s ability to get instant credit unless the freeze is removed. Removing a freeze can take up to three days.
Credit Report: A record of a person’s credit activities. It lists credit card accounts, loans, the balances on the accounts, and how regularly payments are made.
Credit Reporting Agency (CRA): Three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, sell information in credit reports to creditors, insurers, employers and other businesses so they can evaluate a person’s application for credit, insurance, employment, renting, securing utilities, etc.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): Federal that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer

information, including consumer credit information. http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf



Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Federal Trade Commission is the governmental agency that oversees identity

theft issues. All victims should report their case to 877-IDTHEFT or to the website http://www.ftc.gov/ The

information the FTC collects is vital statistical information. A guide to assist victims can be found on website.
Fraud: is a deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual.
Fraud Alert: Heightens credit issuer’s awareness that they need to authenticate applications before issuing credit. This also allows individuals to obtain an additional report before year’s end.
Identity Theft: Occurs when an individual’s personal information is stolen and used without their knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.

WISCONSIN RESOURCES:

Foster Youth ID Theft Brochure: http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/publications/pdf/5053.pdf
ID Theft Tip Sheet for Youth in Foster Care: http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/youth/independent/pdf/tip_sheet.pdf
Wisconsin Identity Theft Coalition: http://cwagwisconsin.org/elder-law-center/wi-identity-theft-coalition/
Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection: http://www.privacy.wi.gov/Consumer/Office_of_Privacy_Protection/index.aspx has helpful fact sheets available at: http://datcp.wi.gov/Consumer/Office_of_Privacy_Protection/Fact_Sheets/index.aspx assists individuals who have not been successful in clearing their report.
Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection File a Complaint: http://datcp.wi.gov/Consumer/Office_of_Privacy_Protection/File_a_Complaint/index.aspx

FEDERAL RESOURCES:

Federal Trade Commission: ID Theft Information and Resources:

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
To file a complaint with Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

OTHER:

Identity Theft Resource Center: http://www.idtheftcenter.org/


DCF-F-439-E (R. 03/2015)


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