The holiday shopping, and returning, season is in full swing, and identity theft is also booming.
A discarded receipt, a birthday listed on social media, or stolen mail with a social security number, can allow thieves to make unauthorized charges on your accounts and apply for credit in your name – or your even in a child’s name.
Prevention is the best defense. You can avoid trouble by using strong passwords, not sharing personal information on-line, avoiding unsecured “free” Wi-Fi in stores and coffee shops, and shredding documents and receipts to be put in the trash.
However, if you are hit by identify thieves you will likely need legal help. If your local union negotiated legal benefits through the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan as part of your union contract, assistance is just a phone call away.
The legal plan is a fully employer-funded negotiated benefit your union won at the bargaining table.
The Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan Identity Theft Defense service provides participants with consultations with a local attorney regarding potential creditor actions resulting from identity theft and attorney services as needed to contact creditors, credit bureaus and financial institutions.
It also provides defense services for specific creditor actions over disputed accounts. The defense services include limiting creditor harassment and representation in defense of any action that arises out of the identity theft such as foreclosure, repossession or garnishment, up to and including trial if necessary.
The service also provides the Participant with online help and information about identity theft and prevention.
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan covers a full range of services including real estate matters, wills, estate planning, family law, and document preparation.
To find out if you are covered, ask your union staff representative. If your local union is preparing for negotiations, request legal plan coverage be on the list of contract demands.
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