This page gives you information about and links to resources to help you deal with some of the possible side effects of the Y2K situation, such as travel advisories, virus information, scams, identity theft and hoaxes.
You are urged to consider this "For Your Information" or as general guidance, as the sources of some of these stories has not been verified.
Amidst the distractions of both the Y2K situation and the holiday season, be aware that there may well be some less than reputable solicitations being made. Here are some resources to check if you have problems or questions about Y2K related scams, frauds, hoaxes or questionable charity appeals -
Identity Theft or Identity Take Over Fraud is a modern reality that hits some 500,000 Americans every year - that is some 1,400 people every day! Everyone of us must become more aware of how to safeguard our name and credit records with the use of personal identifiers.
Note that there is a federal law, "Theft Assumption Deterrance Act" was passed in 1998 that gives you recourse if your identity is misused.
For some pointers on what you can do to minimize being targeted and what you can do if you are victimized, check the following links -
Contact all the following credit record companies to periodically get your credit record for checking and clearing -
For law enforcement assistance, contact -
For consumer oriented information -
For questions about such general consumer areas as credit reports or debt repayment -
Further information is available from the Americans for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) -
And interesting perspective on many aspects of entire privacy question, covering such areas as public policy, personal identity, technical ramifications, modern economics, and institutional inertia, is -
For a step by step guide on how to regain a correct credit record after an identity theft -
The U.S. government has issued a Worldwide Caution Alert and general country by country guides to warn citizens of possible terrorist actions or Y2K failures in various overseas countries as a caution in travel planning.
Also see the federal Department of Transportation report on Y2K related transportation issues -
Another source of information about foreign travel and Y2K readiness in other countries is the Gartner Group site -
Similarly, the British government has published a list of "country statements" with their estimates of how well prepared other countries are for the Millenium Bug -
See a Y2K alert issued by the City of Boulder Police Department.
A good source of information on Consumer and Business Education, Protecting Your Finances from Year 2000 Scam Artists, and how to deal with them is the following link -
The following section from the above web site is worth repeating -
Never give out personal information including your bank account or credit card numbers over the phone or online unless youre familiar with the business and have initiated the contact. Scam artists have a way with words. Dont fall for lines from strangers telling you how to "verify" their identity. Scam artists can use your personal information to commit fraud against you.
Be on the alert for unauthorized charges to your credit card. If you havent authorized a charge, dont pay it dispute it. Follow your credit card issuers procedures for disputing a charge.
If you notice unauthorized debits to your checking or savings account, contact your financial institution immediately.
Have questions? Call your financial institution.
Ask your financial service provider about its plans to deal with Y2K. If youre not comfortable with the response, consider doing business elsewhere.
Ask your provider about contingency plans for system failures.
If you dont normally maintain financial records, you may want to consider doing so in preparation for the Year 2000. That way youll have proof if something happens to the computerized records. At a minimum, keep a six-month paper trail three months before and after the date change on significant transactions, such as mortgages, stocks and insurance.
Make sure your deposit receipts and periodic statements are accurate. Report discrepancies to your institution.
Keep canceled checks, bank statements, and check registers as proof of payment for at least several months before and after the date change. If you bank by computer, download your transaction records and store them on a backup disk. You also may want to print out downloaded records in case backup disks are contaminated with Y2K problems.
Keep credit card receipts for purchases and cash advances made on or around January 1, 2000. Compare them against your billing statements. Report discrepancies to your card issuer.
Some people have received a letter from some private "research center" telling them to telephone a 900-number to see if they qualify for a 546 dollar refund from Medicare.
People who call this 900-number or request any information from this "research center" are immediately charged $4.95.
Whereas the same information is available for no charge directly from Social Security (Tel: 800/772-1213) or from Medicare.
The background for this "magic number" of $546.00 is that if a person's income and assets are below a certain limit ($947.00 for single persone, or 1,265.00 for couples), the State of Colorado may pay their Medicare premium which amounts to $546.00 for a year.
To see if you qualify for this support, check with the Colorado Department of Social Services. Again, there is no charge for the information nor to apply.
From: The Public Employees' Retirement Association of Colorado.
People in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area were called and told that the Y2K bug would invalidate their credit cards. For a fee, the callers offered to provide new magnetic strips if the person being called would just supply the credit card number. Instead, the callers used the credit card number to make unauthorized charges.
Any person getting this type of call should immediately notify their bank or credit card company, as well as the police, the telephone company, and consumer protection agencies.
From: AARP Bulletin, May 1999.
"I got a call from a man this weekend telling me he represented my bank and that they were having difficulty meeting requirements to be computer ready for Y2K. He said all bank customers would need to transfer their accounts to a bond account specially designed to protect our money until the bank could fully comply with Y2K requirements.
"He then said to verify that he was talking to the proper account person I needed to confirm information about myself, my account numbers and then give verbal authorization to transfer funds to this specially designed account.
"I don't trust folks who do this kind of thing so I asked him which of the banks I use did he represent.
"He was not able to do that and hung up at that point.
"Please pass this info to friends or family because this is a scam that is going on all across the country. Some people would be scared to think they would loose all their money (which he said was sure to happen if I didn't do this now) and would supply the information without first checking this out.
"I notified the phone company of the call - since I have caller ID, I could give them a number but the identifier just said "out of area". It came from a 248 area code which is around Detroit.
"Anyway, just passing this along so you'd be aware and beware."
NEVER DIAL AREA CODE 809
Do not ever respond to Emails, Phone Calls, or Pages which tell you To call an "809" phone number. If you call from the U.S., you will probably be charged $25 per-minute!
The 809 area code is located in the the Bahamas. This area code is used as a "pay-per-call" number, similar to 900 numbers in the US. But since the Bahamas are not in the US, it is not covered by US regulations of 900 numbers, which require that you be notified and warned of charges and rates involved when you call a "pay-per-call" number.