Our first speaker today was Pam Thomas of Thrivent Financial in Wheat Ridge Colorado. Pam talked today about something that 1 in 6 Americans will go through in their lifetime. Identity theft is running through the country – Pam started her talk today with the statistics of identity theft going on in our country. The stats break down like this: 25% credit card fraud – 10% Government benefits – 15% employment fraud  – 14% bank and loan fraud – 13% utilities fraud and 23% miscellaneous. Employers are using credit report with new hires these days and think if someone was using your credit to run up huge amounts of debt – a potential employer takes a look at it and doesn’t hire you – you look like a high risk. Another scary possibility is some one steals your identity and gets arrested or in trouble with the law – they don’t show up for court dates and now you have an arrest warrant out for you. This happens more often that we would like think. There are many ways for criminals to get your information, the low tech ways that are used – dumpster diving, stealing your purse or wallet, the waiter/waitress at a restaurant copying your card number when they have your card and at the ATM they can capture your pin number simply by standing behind you. The high tech ways are phishing  – where you get an email that looks legitimate and when you click on the link from the site you enter they capture your computers information. Pharming is the latest – really frightening – posing as a legitimate business sending you an email, but in this case just by opening the email they can get your information. They have codes embedded in the email that are activated just by your simple action of reading that information. To minimize your opportunities for identity theft there are several steps you can take – here are a few ways to do that: At home – have a locked mailbox and when you are traveling put a stop on your mail or have a friend pick it up. Shred financial records and keep current information in a locked file cabinet. Make your PIN number and other passwords difficult without using family names or dates. When talking on the phone don’t give out any personal information, social security number, or mother’s maiden name unless you are doing business with the person requesting the information and trust you know who you are talking to. Get copies of your credit reports annually and review the information carefully. When on the Internet don’t respond to unsolicited emails, especially, if they are requesting any personal information. Have current virus software on your computer and update it regularly and have a firewall.  When you are out shopping or working keep a close eye on your wallet or purse – don’t leave it laying around where strangers will have access, it only takes a moment for someone to take it. Keep only those items that you need in your purse or wallet, it keeps you exposure low with limited items. When standing at the ATM – be aware of your surroundings – if someone is standing behind you shield the key pad with your other hand and don’t use any part of your social security number as your PIN. Try to avoid letting merchants taking your credit card out of your line of site. The last item Pam suggested – don’t carry your social security card in your purse or wallet. If you become the victim of identity theft, Pam Thomas of Thrivent Financial, offers ideas for how you should handle it. First and foremost stay calm and act fast, during the first week makes all the necessary reports to your bank and credit cards, then contact the police, most police departments now have departments that deal with identity theft. Report the fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade commission, keep a record of your conversation. Contact the 3 major credit reporting agencies and tell them you are a victim of identity theft, request a free copy of your credit report, place a fraud alert on your account – requiring that you are contacted to approve new credit requests and once a again keep a record of your conversation. Once you have the reports go through and identify the fraudulent activity and contact those creditors telling them that you have become a victim of identity theft and close the accounts at the consumer’s requests. then have each company send you a written verifictaion of the closing of the account. Follow up with the credit reporting agencies with a letter – summarize your phone conversation and report any new discoveries or information. Fixing your credit after you have your identity stolen can take over 116 hours to fix and cost well over  500.00, not a cheap adventure and none of us want to go through. If you need advice on your retirement planning or have other questions about your financial situation do not hesitate to give Pam Thomas of Thrivent Financial a call.

Pam Thomas * Thrivent Financial Services * 303.962.6265 8 www.thriventfinancial.com

Leailia Bartleson, of Mrs. Bees Concierge Service in Golden Colorado, was our second speaker today. Leailia owns and operates Mrs. B’s Baskets – she found that when she first started the company her clients would ask if she could do simple errands for them and that moved into Christmas shopping and light errands. This created an opportunity that Leailia saw additional services she could offer for her customers and Mrs. Bees Concierge was born. Mrs. Bees Concierge Service offers many different services that we can all appreciate. This list is includes: your simple to do list dry – cleaning drop off & pick up, automobile service, every body’s favorite – line waiting (returns & DMV), courier service, prescription pick up and grocery shopping. Leailia also offers traditional concierge services like airport pick up and drop off coordinating household repairs, move coordination’s, florist and other gift deliveries, tee time scheduling, house sitting and personal security. The other services offered by Mrs. Bees Concierge Service are speciality shopping – Christmas, personal shopper, special occasion, back to school, drop in elder care with shopping and unique gifts – for your business – client pick up, filing, proofreading and editing, office supply pick up, answering phones, copying and data entry. Mrs. Bees Concierge also offers a variety of party and event planning – from the special occasion to at home receptions. Leailia also offers a Romantic Dinner for 2 – dinner, candle light and rose petals without having to lift a finger. Several of our members have used this service and highly recommend it!!! Contact Leailia for anything you need to do and don’t want to do yourself -she will help you out!!!

Leailia Bartleson * Mrs. Bees Concierge Service * 303.278.6433 * www.MrsBeesConcierge.com