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
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.
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.
filed with the IRS for 501-c-3 status
officially set pen to paper and drew up a new updated 5 year business plan
(This is posted at
website). VAA is now right on target in Stage
2: 2nd and 3rd year.
our 501-c-3 designation as a national nonprofit working on a state by state
basis for the nation
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
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.
have now been helping victims for 16 months and average 1500 per day between
the website, phone and
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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?!
Our web site is a fantastic help to victims.
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
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
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.
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
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
(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
their help with
police reports, investigations, prosecutions, etc.
One accomplishment that VAA has just recently accomplished is that
the KRS (the KY Retirement System) has agreed to totally change
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
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
we will be calling them).
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
purposes. Check out what it says. You will find that posted
right at the bottom of your social security card.
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
with were their personal papers.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The top ten reasons
for ID theft:
- Theft of employer
records: employee or client data /other
- 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
credit cards before he leaves for the day – take it home and
download it into his computer.)
- Mail theft (Watch
what mail you throw out: Not only at home/at work/while shopping/at the
post office. Consider a locking
- Social Engineering
(misrepresentation to obtain personal information; often via phone)
- Lost / Stolen purse
or wallet (Start ID Theft checklist immediately if this happens)
- Improper disposal
of credit card receipts/ statements / pre-approved credit apps
- Database intrusion
(credit card account numbers)/ hackers
- Dishonest employee
- Eavesdropping / wandering
eyes (In check-out line, ATM, retail counter: be
aware of this.)
- Domestic / elder abuse
(By Domestic, think: home-cleaning service, temporary help agency, yard
painter, pool service, any home service.)