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Friday, December 09, 2016 06:35:12 AM 
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About VAA
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A few things about our organization and what we are doing at this time:

  • We are the nation’s only national 501-c-3 nonprofit helping victims of ID Theft.
  • Our mission is to aggressively address ID Theft issues on a state by state basis for the nation. Our main focus is that of the victim and helping them to clear their credit during and after an ID theft problem; preventing as many victims as possible by aggressively getting the word out on how to best protect yourself from the problem.
  • We are giving seminars all over the country at this time to groups showing prevention steps and answering questions for those who need more info. These seminars will become more apparent in all areas of the US as we get all 50 offices in place and actively come into each community with our program. If you have a group that would like to have us in for a prevention seminar they are welcome to contact us at anytime.
  • We are also contacting law enforcement in each instance and giving the victim a contact name and number so that they will not get an unintentional run around (we will get it until we find who exactly that victim should work with for their specific problem in their specific state). Hopefully our presence and assistance will help lift the burden from law enforcement while at the same time make law enforcement aware that we will be leaning on them for every victim who needs them and readily referring victims on a daily basis while at the same time the victims can be assured that we will help them ourselves to deal with every aspect of the financial end of their problem till they get to the end of it – one step at a time - every step of the way.
  • We are helping approximately 1500 victims per day at this time with the help of 53 volunteers across the country by website, phone and e-mail.
  • We are in the process of setting up our national headquarters in DC and will be opening a division in every state (with paid employees) in the next few months to better help each victim on a state by state basis.

VAA Information Separator Line

Our History:

One of you asked if we were a new organization. That depends on how you choose to look at us! Martha Steimel was a 10 year victim of Identity Theft starting in1986. (Think of that as the collecting info on the crime time!) Her problem was winding up in1996 when she traveled (about penniless) as a single parent to San Francisco with her three children to take every class offered at a NOVA (National Organization of Victims Assistance) conference in "How to set up a 501-c-3", "How to plan for a national presence" "How to work with victims without further victimizing them" "How to effectively run a national organization" etc.

At this time is when several Attorney General's and organization heads were kind enough to see what she was about, told her that she had to be in the top three in the nation with knowledge of this crime - maybe the top because of all she'd had the opportunity to observe on a first hand basis and taken in over the past 10 years.

They sat down with her and brain-stormed as to how to proceed and her business plan was put into place. They stressed that she should financially get back on her own two feet after losing her own thriving business to the crime and get her children all in place so that she could readily be available for the nonprofit. They guesstimated that an organization of this magnitude would take 6 or 7 years to put together.  She went back home and studied and became a stock-broker with that intent in mind. What was amazing to her at the time – the name of the crime was not even known yet – but – here was a group of people knowledgeably advising her how to set the whole thing up. One of them said that it would be the crime of the millennium. He saw it in the court rooms already and recognized a victim of this crime when he saw one – but had no idea how to help.

That’s where our president’s ten years in “training” would come in handy once all was set up and put into place.

1986 – 1996: Our President studied the crime on a first-hand basis before the name Identity Theft was even coined a phrase. It was noted that at the pace of it’s growth: It would become the Crime of the Millennium.

1997:The organization was named and the set-up begun.

1998:VAA became incorporated

1999:VAA filed with the IRS for 501-c-3 status

2000:VAA officially set pen to paper and drew up a new updated 5 year business plan (This is posted at the VAA website). VAA is now right on target in Stage 2:  2nd and 3rd year.

2001:Received our 501-c-3 designation as a national nonprofit working on a state by state basis for the nation to aggressively address the problem and help the victims in the field of Identity Theft. We began quietly helping victims. We did not want media attention yet. Our president, Martha Steimel at this time left from the brokerage business (after 6/7 years), her children were now all away at college and she could now dedicate full time hours to the needed progression of our organization. We had a lot of set up work to do to prepare for the numbers of victims we'd been told to anticipate. She has totally donated up to this point all of her time and toil and physically helped most of the victims personally.

2002:We have now been helping victims for 16 months and average 1500 per day between the website, phone and e-mail. We are to the point where financially we need to start asking for the support of the US to be able to now stand up and put ourselves out to the nation. We need to put salaries in place for Martha and for directors in every state.
A phenomenal company (Virtual-Isle Solutions) was the first to step up to the bar. They began working with us on a 400 page website that would become a focal-point of our organization and greatly help victims with their problems. They painstakingly put in another part to the site called VAA Retail. There are over 400 merchants who have all offered to give a donation to VAA for every purchase made by anyone going to their website from VAA Retail! This is the first item that VAA has had with the potential of helping to fund our national nonprofit help to victims mission. This was totally donated to our organization and the first time that someone recognized VAA as a viable organization worthy of a donation. VeriSign closely followed suit and is at this time donating the secure site certificate.

2003:We are ready for the public. We have 53 volunteers all across the country now helping us. There are 5 companies working with a professional 501-c-3 development organization who would all like to have their name affiliated with VAA. Hopefully more will follow suit. With the numbers of victims involved we need as many sponsors as possible at VAA. Two of these companies are willing to donate office space for VAA in 50 locations across the US. We expect to have this national presence within the next few months. You may look at us and say "VAA is new". We look at us and say "Look how our Baby has Grown!!:-)" Because we are just now looking for funding and we have tried to keep a low key profile until we are prepared for the 23,000+ victims we have been told to expect per week people have not really heard much about us - but - as you can see - we have been there just steadily working our hearts out to get to where we are today. As always - we try to supply you with plenty of info so that you can easily find enough to answer your questions. We do hope that you don't simply state that we are "new"! That would really discount all of the work that's been done for years now getting ready for our national presence. If you would like more info as to what projects we are working on at this time and what we have completed thus-far please let us know. Our website address: Http://www.victimsassistanceofamerica.org.

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Our current national “community-action” project is to supply fake and stolen ID detection equipment to all of the airports and police cruisers across the country. That project is set to kick-off in a month or so. We are seeking help from anyone interested all across the country for this project. Info about it is located in the center of our home page and more by clicking on the Fake-ID Detection Button at the bottom of the left hand column of buttons. We will be urging all human resource departments (anyone who has any employees) to buy a machine and be sure that they don’t have anyone who got their job using a fake or stolen ID.  The TSA (Transportation Security Authority) did this at two of their airports – one in DC and one in NY. They found 124 employees who’d gotten their jobs with a fake or stolen ID. Lots were doing so to hide a criminal record on their own ID. They were all fired and also arrested. It is against the law to show a fake or stolen ID. We at VAA are going to try to saturate the US with this equipment and flush out these people. If they caught 124 in just two places of employment – just how many would we be able to weed out all across the nation? Consider buying a machine for your business. Know that you are not hiring (or already have employed) a criminal/ terrorist/or ID theft. They will not offer that info to you and we at VAA get a donation from the manufacturer to help run our victim’s program for every machine that we place. Even if you only hire 10 personnel – if you catch just one criminal – won’t you feel that the equipment has just paid for itself?!

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Our web site is a fantastic help to victims.
The left hand row of buttons is there just specifically for the help to victims. At the top is a list of “check-list” items. The first checklist menu item is one for victims to use to help to expediently get to the bottom of their problem. We urge every victim to download that list and contact us with any questions. We will assign an advocate to them who will help them every step of the way through their problem. We help them with the financial end of the problem and make sure that they are directed to the correct law enforcement entity for in their state and specifically for what type of problem that they are dealing with. Some contact us with every move they make – others download the list and contact us any time they run into a question. We will be adding an 800 hotline number at the very top of that left hand column as soon as all 50 offices are in place. The number will be tied into those offices and will ring into the state that the caller is contacting us from.

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Our President was a 10 year victim of ID theft. Her problem started 17 years ago before the name was even known much less it being considered a crime.  They say that ID Theft is so “new” that law enforcement and all are just now starting to address the problem! She says that it is so “bad” that we can no longer say that it’s not a problem!  Ms Steimel’s background is 12 years in collections/ 7years as a financial consultant-stockbroker/10 years as a victim/and 16 years in management. With this background and her ability to work with the credit reporting  and collection agencies she has no problem reaching in and helping anyone (whether they had nothing when their problem started are were very affluent) know how to get their problem to stop and protect their good name and credit profile. She has been working on the set-up of VAA for several years to be sure that it is sturdy enough to handle the numbers we’ve been told to expect.
 
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Our office's will all be trained in the financial end of the crime and they will be readily available for victims to take advantage of VAA’s help in getting their problem locked down financially to best protect themselves from the problem continuing or happening again. We are doing this at this time all over the country for 1500 per day. We expect for those numbers to explode as our availability in each state heightens with local offices available for victims to stop in and see their advocate. We’ve been told to expect 23,000 per week. That would be 500 per office per week.  The numbers escalate as we speak. We are contacting divisions of law enforcement (and have been steadily for the past year) to let them know that we are coming and to actively give them referrals in their area as victims come in that need their help with police reports, investigations, prosecutions, etc.

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One accomplishment that VAA has just recently accomplished is that the KRS (the KY Retirement System) has agreed to totally change over their electronic filing system so that 170,000 KY retirees will no longer have to have their Social Security Numbers posted on their medical ID cards/their insurance cards. Insurance companies tend to be the dinosaurs in this Identity Theft problem all across the US. They are still using Social Security Numbers for the ID numbers on everyone’s medical cards. At this time unless someone knows to ask for an alternate number that is what is happening. In the case of the KY retirees, even if they knew to ask for an alternate number:  it made no difference because of the way the KRS was set up.  We at VAA want to urge all state retirement systems to make the changes on their own (because we will be calling them).

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The Dinosaurs. We want to urge all insurance companies nationally to be put on notice. Social Security Numbers are not meant to be used for Identification purposes.  Check out what it says. You will find that posted right at the bottom of your social security card.

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Social Security Card. (And . . . if you pulled it conveniently out of your wallet to check – We caught you!:-) What are you doing carrying that around with you? Put it in your bank safety deposit box! Don’t keep it readily accessible for an ID Thefter to make use of. In fact – it’s best not to even keep it in your home. We are finding more and more victims reporting that their homes were broken into and the only thing tampered with were their personal papers.

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California just made it a state law that the three credit reporting agencies have to let clients have a pin number or password on their credit reports. We at VAA were already telling victims (no matter what state they were in) to ask for a password from all three credit reporting agencies. We have also urged all senators to pass legislation in their own state to make it the law. Right now even if the three credit reporting agencies give pass codes all over the country – they are only held by law to do so in California. (If a problem were caused by them giving out info /not “noticing” the pass word and we then had a new “victim” only those victims in California would have a leg to stand on!) So, ask for passwords on every account that you hold and also on all three credit reports. The info on the three credit reporting agencies can be found by clicking on the Credit Reports button located on the home page / left hand side column of buttons at the VAA website.

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Credit reports / PINs:  Back when it was announced that we had 30,000+ new victims of ID Theft at the hands of one insider and two perpetrators of the crime / those victims would not have been victims at all if they’d just taken the time to have a PIN or password put on all three of their credit reports. Have you done this for all of your family members? If you take responsibility for their health and dental check-ups you need to take responsibility for their credit checkups also. No one else will.

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The Best Thing that you can do for your family is to pull a credit report for every family member at least once a year and insist that your family’s financial and credit health stay just as up to par that I’m sure you insist on the medical health to be. Don’t pass a family name down in history with a criminal record or butchered credit health at the hands of these perpetrators! Protect yourself and your family’s good name.

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The top ten reasons for ID theft:

  1. Theft of employer records: employee or client data /other multi-person records
  2. Credit card skimming (Only way to avoid this – don’t use credit cards. There are wireless skimmers now – meaning the perpetrator can sit out in the parking lot of a retailer and get your credit card info as it is scanned in the store. They download too – meaning if the perpetrator sits there for a while - his wireless skimmer can store thousands of credit cards before he leaves for the day – take it home and download it into his computer.)
  3. Mail theft (Watch what mail you throw out: Not only at home/at work/while shopping/at the post office. Consider a locking mailbox.)
  4. Social Engineering (misrepresentation to obtain personal information; often via phone)
  5. Lost / Stolen purse or wallet (Start ID Theft checklist immediately if this happens)
  6. Improper disposal of credit card receipts/ statements / pre-approved credit apps
  7. Database intrusion (credit card account numbers)/ hackers
  8. Dishonest employee (See #1)
  9. Eavesdropping / wandering eyes (In check-out line, ATM, retail counter:  be aware of this.)
  10. Domestic / elder abuse (By Domestic, think: home-cleaning service, temporary help agency, yard work, roofer, painter, pool service, any home service.)

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