identity theft



As I watched a YouTube video this morning about the flooding in Nashville, it struck me once again why I am so passionate about my AZPortaVault product – and how I participate in protecting others from being devastated by the loss of their vital documents.  If you have ever visited my website, you will know that as an Insurance Agent for close to 30 years, I have seen it all happen, and I know, first hand that NOT ONE OF US is exempt from experiencing a significant catastrophic occurrence in our lifetime.

Let me ask you a really serious question, “What have you done to protect yourself in the potential loss of your vital documents?  If you have ever had a wallet lost or stolen, you have experienced the nightmare that is to resolve protecting yourself from identity theft and replacement of vital documents.  Can you imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have your items all together and had to quickly evacuate your home?  The time, the cost, the emotional burden?

I am about being proactive and being personally responsible for your life choices; I am also about solutions and resources that I can provide those who support my own professional success.  It is with that thought in mind that I went in search of  a resource that you can access in that same process of being proactive in knowing what to do if/when disaster may strike you and your family.  I hope you will be somewhat relieved to know that fortunately, most important personal records can be replaced. Depending on the document you need, use these links as a starting point.

Note:  This is one of those resources where I am taking it direct from its source and giving full credit to its creator – being, in essence, the vehicle by which you are made aware and your life can be positively impacted by my spirit of belief and my spirit of generosity…

  • Address Change – When you move, be sure to change your address with a few government agencies so that you’ll continue to receive mail and any government benefits at your new location.
  • Bank Records – Financial tips and resources for disaster recovery. (.PDF | requires Adobe Acrobat Reader )
  • Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates – Get records based on the location of the birth, death, marriage, or divorce.
  • Damaged Money – The Treasury Department will exchange mutilated or damaged U.S. currency.
  • Document Restoration–Fire – The Library of Congress offers information on restoring fire-damaged documents and collections.
  • Document Restoration–Flood – The National Archives offers information on how to care for your flood damaged photos, books, papers and more
  • Drivers’ Licenses and Vehicle Registration – Find your state’s motor vehicle department to get or replace your driver’s license and register your car.
  • Federal Civilian Personnel Records – Go to the National Archives for guidance on requesting personnel records for former federal civilian employees. Current federal workers can get personnel records from their Human Resources office.
  • Green Card Replacement – Get instructions on how to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged permanent resident card (green card).
  • Medical Information Form – Download a form where you can record medical conditions and other health information for use in an emergency situation.
  • Medicare Card Replacement – How to replace a lost, stolen or damaged Medicare card
  • Military Service Records – How to get copies of military service records, to prove military service or for genealogy research
  • Passport – Lost or stolen passports should be reported immediately. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or Consulate if your passport is lost or stolen overseas.
  • Savings Bonds Recovery – Cash and replace lost, stolen, or destroyed bonds.
  • School Records – Contact your former school, or the appropriate school district if the school has closed.
  • Social Security Card Replacement – How to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card
  • Tax Return – Request a copy of your federal tax return from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

SOURCE:  http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Family_Issues/Vital_Docs.shtm

Thank you in advance for being proactive about this information – I would that you spend more of your time enjoying life than being frantic about some unforeseen loss.

Jan Vitale… your investment protector

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…


Let’s face it – very few of us are immune to bearing a little more weight than is healthy or comfortable for us; others are bordering on obesity and that, my friends, is frightening!  Increasing your knowledge of some of the underlying reasons for weight gain may be as important a use of your time as spending an extended period of time on the treadmill.

Obesity as a Global issue…

Apparently this is a global issue… according to the Hindustan Times (Health) the problem is being recognized and information being offered about three simple areas you can check to determine why you, the health conscious one, are experiencing a gain, when you feel there should be at least maintenance, if not a loss.  You’ve been eating right, exercising, taking supplements and keeping hydrated – but nothing good is happening!

  1. Hypothyroidism – insufficiency of the thyroid hormone responsible for maintaining healthy metabolism.
  2. Insulin resistance – the body’s inability to metabolize glucose.
  3. Basal metabolic rate – the rate at which your body normally burns calories.

Also in the news, Mumbai, May 27, 2010 we find additional supporting reference to the same three issues – one of which notes that hypothyroidism may come as a genetic predisposition, that fortunately has an easy treatment through doses of thyroid hormone.

In this same article, Dr. Panikar is quite outspoken about the fact that obesity is the number one cause of insulin resistance.  So what do we do as a nation… as a community… in our own personal responsibility?  Something as simple as monitoring calorie intake and engaging in a bit more vigorous exercise.

In Canada residents in the community of Belleville are taking up arms against obesity… they declared May 29th through June 4th as health and fitness week!   Applause, applause!

According to the article in “The Intelligencer”, this Canadian town noted that 58 percent of their residents are overweight or obese, and at least 46 percent are just simply physically inactive.   That inactivity converts to an economic burden of an estimated $5.3 billion dollars!

The message that hit home in this particular newsclip was that 50 percent of all cancers are preventable – just through making better lifestyle choices, including being more physically active. It is little wonder that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is being proactive in getting people to improve their health… wisely starting with educating the young.

And finally… bringing it home!  My research this morning took me to southeast Missouri, where an Associated Press editorial where the discussion is about a woman who reached a Weight Loss Plateau (WLP) – something that discourages all of us who have worked really hard to shed those unhealthy pounds.  What the young woman in question learned is that our bodies have a natural set point, or ideal weight that battles against us.  Fortunately, the article goes into depth about three techniques that can get you through the discouragement, and shift your body’s belief about what that “ideal” actually is.

  1. Changing your exercise routine so you use different muscles.
  2. Increasing your muscle mass to increase your caloric burn.
  3. Eating more frequently to retain energy through the day.

I trust this article does two things:  First, opens your mind to the seriousness of the problem of obesity and second, offers sufficient information that if you or a loved one deals with this battle – there may be a positive result for you in gaining just one new piece of knowledge; learning one new thing about which you were not aware.

If you want to step into a larger, more personal role about personal wellness, as related to nutrition, you may want to subscribe to the RSS feed on this blog, or… you may want to check out the nutrition section of my website, where you will find an ever-growing collection of articles, books, resources, supplements and general great information that is there to enhance the lifestyle you want to live… through good nutrition!  I have a wonderful gift for those people who are committed to personal well-being – a 145 page Gluten Free cookbook.  Hurry over and claim your copy of this easy to download digital product!

Jan Vitale… your Nutrition Nanny

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…


Very few people have the luxury of starting a home-based Network Marketing business without having to juggle with finances, primary employment, kids, family, and the list goes on.  Many people have the desire to  create this kind of a business, but they are not sure how to find the time to make it work with all the other tasks and duties that are already their responsibility.  If you are considering such a decision, you might want to consider the following ways that you can find the balance; you can make it happen! There are two secrets I would like to share – one is about time and the other is about selecting the right business.

Blocking the Time

You are not alone!  Virtually everyone who ever decided to shift from employed to self-employed suffered the same anxiety, “How am I going to fit in something else?”  One of the primary keys is truly about blocking out specific time for specific activities and knowing that if you can discipline yourself for this time that you will find yourself more capable than you first thought.  Most home businesses can be managed in roughly four hours per week.   Don’t think you can find that many extra hours?  Simply shift your thinking and your expectations and decide how long you want to work to make this transition happen.

You might want to put your toes into the water, so to speak, with just a couple of hours a week, until you get the hang of blocking out your time.  This way you can get a good feel for which hours actually work best for you – – around your already existing schedule.  You might also have to have a little heart to heart with yourself about your expectations as to how quickly you want to shift from your JOB… maybe  you would prefer getting up an hour earlier each day, or make some other time sacrifice, knowing the ultimate benefit you gain in the time to build your place as an entrepreneur.

Much of what will happen really comes down to your mindset and the amount of personal motivation you have in getting the results you acknowledge you desire.  You must, simply must, look at this venture as one of “creating a business” and not just entertaining some hobby that might or might not work out.  Ask yourself the hard question before you consider such life-altering changes:  “Am I willing to create the necessary time and commitment to succeed – no matter what?”  Your answer will drive your results!   If the answer is yes, if you want something badly enough, you will make it happen.  It takes consistence and persistence to run any business – and you are stepping up the pace just a bit when you decide to put forth the effort and energy to create a different future for yourself and your family.

Making the Right First Choice

Many people run around in the proverbial circle – not sure what the best home-based business would be for them.  They fall prey to every sharp sales person who offers them an “opportunity” to strike it rich.  I just spent the better part of an hour glancing through  a home-based business magazine.   Now, one would think that if someone had the revenue to advertise in such a magazine would a) be doing well financially, and b) be totally on the up and up.   Well, let me tell you… just for fun I did a bit of due diligence on a couple of the expensive full page ads and found that one is a know Ponzi scheme and another one that had 38 scam reports on just one directory!

However, due diligence aside – there are a number of really great Network Marketing companies available for you to use as the foundation of your home-based business, if that is your choice.  The bigger question is more personal in nature – what business would be really attractive to you?  You might be stressed out and just looking for a lifestyle change.   That is a good place to be, provided you look into the many options that are available to you and select one that is interesting, appealing, and matches your core values.

Once you have decided that the opportunity is a good one, that you will get adequate support and training, and that you can actually accomplish what you set out to achieve… your next step toward wrapping up that first best choice about becoming an entrepreneur is to make the shift in your mind from being an employee to that of being a business owner!  Trust yourself that you have made the right decision; trust yourself that you can make it happen; trust yourself to seek out the training or other resources you may require; and trust yourself to have courage and an open mind!

The primary difference in mindset is that this will all be up to you… it can be done and becoming a successful entrepreneur works – provided – you are willing to work at it and make it happen with the attitude of Lisa Nichols, “No Matter What!”  It will always come back to your being personally responsible for the work that does or does not get done.  If you have made the right first choice you will know it… you will never look back and the financial gain you desire will become the by-product of working harder than you ever worked for your employer – doing something that you love!

Jan Vitale… supporting Network Marketing – the business model for a troubled economy.

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…

Note:  I mentioned Lisa Nichols in this article – if you have not read her book, and you are in the mood to be MOTIVATED… you might just want to slip over to Amazon and get a copy… it is a great, and memorable read.   One of those books that – if you read it at just the right time of your life, will give you the most amazing kick in the seat of the pants you could hope to experience! If you are considering making that transition from JOB to self-employed…  NOW would be the perfect time to read it.

No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love


What would your immediate response be if I were to ask you to look at the other side of today’s global economic uncertainty – and have you look there for opportunity?  This opportunity becomes a reality through taking advantage of today’s business trends – not fearing them.  One such opportunity to build long-term residual income and personal freedom comes with Network Marketing.

Is it all about labels?

Network Marketing has taken its hits over time – especially when it wore the label “Multi-Level Marketing.”  It obviously is not a new concept, but it is obviously still misunderstood, and it is actually expanding rapidly.  The most simple definition is that Network Marketing is but one of a number of ways to move products from manufacturers to consumers; an alternative that is used by most major corporations today.

An alternative to traditional retail advertising and distribution…

In the retail channel, corporations spend $10 to $20 million dollars per advertising campaign – the whole focus being to convince a buying public to … well, buy.  Those dollars are above and beyond what is paid to distributors, truckers, warehouse staff, clerical and administrative support, etc.

Other alternatives are also available to the consumer, in the form of discount warehouse stores, shopping online, and mail order companies; alternatives that don’t come under the same degree of scrutiny that Network Marketing does.  Amazon and Overstock, L.L. Bean and Buy.com… none of them  have difficulty impressing their loyal customers in their attempt to provide quality, selection, delivery and customer service at a higher level.  The question begs to be asked… why does Network Marketing have to pay such a high price to prove its credibility?  Why does the “taint” follow some markets and not others?

Combining many distribution options…

Network Marketing, as a proven business model seeks to do nothing more than combine the best aspects of all distribution options, the highest quality merchandise, the convenience of home delivery, and the time-saving value of allowing – – yes, allowing, the customer the privilege of participating in the sales and distribution process!

Success Magazine even supports Network Marketing as an actual complement to the world’s developing business models and business trends as manufacturers continue to see a way to keep their advertising dollars as close to the actual point of sale as possible.  The one critical point that is often overlooked in this method of distribution is that the passion of an enthusiastic and committed network marketer is huge compared to that of someone in charge of a marketing campaign designed only for dollars in their pocket.  The proof of the power of this method of distribution is seen in the fact that Colgate -Palmolive, Gillette, Jockey International and the Body Shop all have complete Network Marketing departments in their companies.  Not to mention that MCI requested the assistance of Amway in marketing their long distance services through their network – a joint venture that worked so well that after three million subscribers took advantage of the opportunity for lower priced and better distribution – AT&T was forced to invest huge sums of money in a “traditional” marketing campaign that we all know as “We want you back.”

Baby Boomers participate in distribution success…

Where did the idea of MLM go south; where did the negative feedback begin?  It is known that this alternative distribution process – regardless the name it was given – has been responsible for the success of some of the highest quality, innovative products throughout American history:  sewing machines, vacuum cleaners and smoke detectors are but a few well known items.  It doesn’t matter what the product is – the baby boomers are willing to spend money on anti-aging, skin care, natural food supplements, communication technology, and a plethora of other products… and in the process, they too have seen the empowerment – the freedom of lifestyle choices – that come with participating in the distribution process themselves, building a future without sacrificing themselves or their values in the process.

In the quest to work smarter, not harder; to make better choices in creating something of value and integrity – more and more people are seeking their freedom as the search for opportunity, leadership and balance.  More and more are finding all they seek through Network Marketing.

Jan Vitale… supporting Network Marketing – the business model for a troubled economy.

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…


What if I told you that networking could be a whole lot more fun and a lot easier if you learn to be natural and authentic and show the world just three qualities we are all looking for:  warmth, genuineness and empathy.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to work hard at being clever and witty – the simple truth is that positive energy and a friendly approach take away the fear and discomfort you may feel in networking.   Let’s talk about a few tips that will enhance even the lowest level of connecting…

Show Your Enthusiasm

When the first words out of your mouth are either a simple declaration of what you do, or a question about what your new networker does – you are not really inviting someone to make a meaningful connection.  Try to express what you do by showing your passion and purpose in what you do – get them excited with you just by the tone of your voice or the body language you use and make sure to include information about the fun things your day to day activities bring to your life!  Sharing your interests, as well as your career choice, inspires balance in the conversation and in your life and helps you connect with people on a broader level.

Think about it… if you spoke with one dentist and all you got from him was the name of his practice and the school he attended, and then spoke with another one who shared more about the boating he does on the weekends with his family – and you love boating!  Which do you think will have made a more enhanced connection with you.   Which do you think you will more naturally remember – whether he is the better dentist is no longer the issue… it is the natural connection you will have made.

Allow Others Their Moment in the Sun

It is not necessary that you have the floor at all times.  Sometimes you can connect at a much deeper level when you allow others to be all they can be at a networking event.  Sometimes those people give unsolicited advice that you weren’t prepared to receive, but if you do nothing more than make them feel helpful by being appreciative and diplomatic, you will have left a positive impression on what was previously a perfect stranger.  Rather than noting to an excited graphics artist that you already have all your branding under control, and shutting them down, try offering a different type of response, “Thanks for your interesting ideas.  I’ll have to give them some thought.”

There is NO Need to Compete!

You do not attend networking events to be the “best of show!”  Leave that to those who feel compelled to brag – while you engage in the more serious activity of building relationships.  Even if you run into someone who feels inclined to brag – have mercy on them.  Understand that people are there to promote themselves, and if they start bragging – it is a better course of action to understand their need to feel successful and warmly celebrate their success with them.  What an easy way to expand a connection when your response to some bragging is, “That’s has to be exciting for you.  I am impressed.”

Never Feed Into Gossip

The larger the group of people, the more likely you will experience those people who gossip to feel important.  Gossip creates mistrust and you don’t want to spend energy or resources trying to build relationships, only to have them dashed to the ground because someone wonders if you may sometime speak ill of them!  It is easy enough to change the direction of a conversation – and those who see you taking a stand for making that change, will see you as a role model of kindness and integrity; a person with whom they will now trust to connect with.

Dealing With Criticism

Ok, the more you network and the more you connect with people, the more you will be exposed to criticism.  The people who are negative tend to be labeled by others; that is not what you want in your life!  All you have to do to keep this a win/win situation is to share quiet empathy – and in turn allow others to step into a new place… one of being receptive and supportive.  Once again, you get to be the role model – helping those who criticize feel understood and more capable of being empathetic with others.  Those who have watched the interchange will trust you at a deeper level – sensing that if the occasion should ever arise – you would have their back as well.

And,  the most important…

Find some way to remember people’s names!  I have taken a few workshops on this topic – and realize how important it is that you connect the face and the business – only as secondary to the name. There are almost as many “tricks” as there are names to remember so my only suggestion is to find what works for you.  My own is to repeat their names several times during the conversation and when leaving the group, closing my eyes for a second to capture the vision of their face, as I use their name one last time to say my goodbyes.  I have a friend who uses the Cardscan program and frequently will go online and view the photos of a few people he wants to connect with at an upcoming event… just a quick little refresher that does wonders for his ultimate “connecting power.”

I trust these ideas are beneficial to you.  Each little shift we make in our thinking and the way we conduct our networking efforts makes a big shift in the quality of the connections we make at networking events.   Keep in mind… it is all about relationships – go build them!

Jan Vitale… building my business one great connection at a time.

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…

NOTE:  I mentioned CardScan above – it you haven’t tapped into the power of this amazing product in managing your data and keeping your contact information up to date – I want to give you the opportunity to at least make yourself knowledgeable about its benefits.

CardScan Executive Contact Management System


I have long been an advocate of healthy living – always seeking out products that give me the edge on being personally responsible for making the best nutritional choices.  We all know the damage of sugar on our systems; we also know how difficult it is to counter that “sweet tooth.”  I went in search of a healthy alternative…

I personally turned to the Stevia sweetener once I found the FDA had finally given it the green light, and having compared it to other similar products which did not fare so well in the being fully “healthy” test.  The following is information you may not have that will help you make better sweetener choices for you and your family.  I dug up as many facts as I could – and share them with you here…

What is stevia?
Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Compositae family that grows as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. The glycosides in its leaves make it incredibly sweet, a property that is unique among the nearly 300 species of stevia plants. Stevia has been used to sweeten beverages and medicines since Pre-Colombian times. A scientist named Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by native tribes in 1887.

Is Stevia safe?

Yes. Scientific research from around the world was exhaustively reviewed when the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener® presented their case for GRAS status (a rigorous FDA designation of food safety). An independent group of outside scientists concluded that SweetLeaf Sweetener® met FDA standards for safety. In an unprecedented move to ensure the product’s safety, the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener® consulted with a second set of independent experts. These scientists confirmed that SweetLeaf Sweetener® met FDA standards for safety. The comprehensive review included studies on toxicity, cancer, reproductive health, long-term use, use at high-volumes, the effects on blood-sugar levels and more. Furthermore, after more than 30 years of high volume use in Japan and other countries, as well as more than a decade of use in America as a dietary supplement, there have been no reported cases of ill-effects. Recent scientific reviews by the World Health Organization (2003 and 2007) support these findings.

What are the benefits of using this sweetener?
It has a delicious sweet flavor and is the only sweetener in the world that is 100% natural, with zero calories, zero carbs and a zero glycemic index.

Where is Stevia cultivated?
Stevia is cultivated primarily in China, but the leaves of SweetLeaf Sweetener® come only from South America. There are other growers scattered across the Pacific Rim. Stevia is also being cultivated in Canada, Israel, Africa, Japan and China.

Where is it manufactured?

I was excited to find that the primary manufacturer in the U.S. is an Arizona owned company!  Its founder, Jim May offers significant credentials, having previously held positions as Vice President of United Healthcare Association (UHA), Inc. and President of the United Dialysis Services (UDS), Inc. Jim has participated in numerous professional organizations and activities, including Director of the Artificial Organs and Transplant program at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Executive Director and member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Kidney Foundation and consultant to the Chief of the government’s End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program in Washington, D.C.  He obviously shares my passion for healthy living.

What is the brand name?
SweetLeaf™ is the brand name for the first and only great-tasting, natural, zero-calorie, stevia-based sweetener offered in America. It was first introduced in 1996 as a dietary supplement. Then, after some of the most stringent scientific research on its safety and its unique, ultra-pure formulation, SweetLeaf became the very first stevia-based product to achieve GRAS status. It remains the only stevia-based product with zero calories, zero carbs and zero glycemic index.

What sets SweetLeaf apart from all other sweeteners available today?
It employs a process of extraction that uses only pure water to collect the finest, sweetest parts of the stevia plant. Other companies use chemicals, alcohols or even enzymes that actually change the make-up of the naturally occurring substances.  It has a fresh, clean sweet taste without a bitter after-taste, which is often found in other brands. Finally, the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener®have been working with the stevia plant for 25 years, so they have decades of experience and a brand name you can trust.

What is the FDA’s position on SweetLeaf Stevia™?

In August 2009, SweetLeaf™ received a “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in regard to the findings of the FDA expert panel of scientists, which concluded that the whole leaf steviol glycosides with rebaudioside A and stevioside, used to formulate the company’s SweetLeaf Sweetener® extract, are granted Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status.

How has Stevia been used in food applications?

Stevia is used mostly in beverages, but is growing in other food industry applications. First, it has been used as a prepackaged replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners. Second, it has been used in various food products, including sugar-free versions of Wrigley’s gums, Beatrice Foods yogurts and even Diet Coke. It has also been used in pickles, dried seafoods, fish & meat products, vegetables, condiments, frozen foods, beverages of all kinds, confectionaries and a host of other products.

How sweet is Stevia?

High quality stevia leaves are up to 30 times sweeter than table sugar. The purified extracts of stevia (called glycosides) can be 250–300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Can Stevia replace artificial sweeteners in the diet?
Yes! For the past 30 years other countries have approved the use of Stevia as a sweetener and their populations have integrated stevia into their diet. Stevia-based sweeteners have a nearly 40% market share in some of these countries.

How many calories are in SweetLeaf Sweetener®?
None. And it is also the only stevia-based sweetener with no carbs and no glycemic index.

Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels?
Not at all. It is ideal for diabetics, weight-watchers and everyone else too!

Is Stevia safe for diabetics?
Yes. SweetLeaf Sweetener® can be a part of a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does not raise blood sugar levels. If in doubt, ask your doctor.

Can Stevia be used in cooking and baking?
Absolutely! Research shows that stevia extracts are extremely heat stable in a variety of everyday cooking and baking situations. Look for the SweetLeaf Sweetener® baking formulation soon!

Where can I buy SweetLeaf Sweetener®?

The company has a store locator at http://www.sweetleaf.com/store-locator – just put in your address and find the nearest Frys, Aj’s, and other health food stores carrying this amazing product; a product that I feel may change how America looks at sugar consumption!

Jan Vitale… the Nutrition Nanny

Vital Enterprises, LLC where you can always find valuable resources for nutrition, disaster preparedness, identity theft, insurance, networking, network marketing, vital document storage and travel.


My purpose is to provide you resources and that sometimes will be in the form of documentation that is not of my own creation.  This is such an item… an FTC Ruling that not only protects your identity, but also protects you from unscrupulous vendors who lure you into services under the guise of providing you the annual free credit report allowed every person.

Posted in: Identity Theft News By Mar 12, 2010 – 10:34:07 AM

Amended Free Credit Reports Rule Helps Consumers Avoid ‘Free’ Offers That Cost Money (04/01/2010)

Starting tomorrow, a new Federal Trade Commission rule will help consumers avoid confusing ads for “free credit reports” – which often require them to buy credit monitoring or other services – with the federally mandated no-strings-attached credit reports available at AnnualCreditReport.com, or 877-322-8228.

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s amended Free Credit Reports Rule, ads for these “free” offers must have clear disclosures. For example, Web sites offering free credit reports must have a disclosure, across the top of each page that mentions free credit reports, with links to AnnualCreditReport.com and FTC.gov. The amended Rule also requires nationwide consumer reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to delay advertising for products or services on AnnualCreditReport.com until after consumers get their free credit reports. The amended Rule is effective on April 2, 2010, except for the wording of disclosures for television and radio ads, which takes effect on September 1, 2010.

Information in credit reports may affect whether consumers can monitor for identity theft or can get a loan or a job, so it is important for consumers to check their reports and correct any inaccurate information. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies is required to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit reports once every 12 months upon request. Consumers can learn more about their right to a free credit report under federal law at http://www.ftc.gov/freereports.

Jan Vitale, Your Investment Protector

Vital Enterprises, LLC

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