Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Check out suspicious
credit card solicitations

Question: I've received two credit card solicitations in the mail in the past month that had my name and my neighbor's name on them as if we are one and the same person. I called one company who apologized and said they were provided a mailing list from somebody who had Hawaii addresses and linked several people who lived at different numbers on the same street. Then I got a second solicitation with the same problem. I don't know if my neighbor is using me and my good credit rating or what the situation is. The second letter doesn't have a phone number. I wonder if this is happening to other people. Is there a credit card monitoring agency where I could find out what or how to get this whole thing corrected? I have a very good credit rating and I don't know what to do to protect it or to trouble-shoot this.

Answer: We looked to Stephen Levins, acting executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection, for guidance on this.

"If you have any suspicion that there is any kind of hanky-panky going on," you should first order a credit report from one of the major credit rating bureaus, he said. This way, you can make sure your report is correct and also see if there have been any inquiries on it.

Depending on the circumstance, the report may be free or there may be a slight charge.

In fact, Levins said everyone should make it a practice to make such a credit check once a year, "just to make sure everything is correct."

Meanwhile, you can limit the number of such solicitations by contacting the financial institutions that issue your credit cards, he said. "You can opt out" -- prevent them from selling or passing on any information about you to other companies, he said.

You can also call 1-888-567-8688 and have your name excluded from lists of names "prescreened" and sold by the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Trans-Union.

Without more information, Levins he could not speculate on how the mix-up on the mailing address may have occurred. If it happens again, you should do as you did in the first case -- contact the soliciting company and point out the error, he said.

Here are the names and numbers of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, 1-800-682-7654; Trans Union, 1-800-888-4213; Equifax, 1-800-685-1111.

Q: I went to have my safety check inspection done recently, but the service station refused to perform the inspection because I had a photocopy of the vehicle registration. Our company had always kept the original in its possession and insisted that the photocopy is legal. Who is correct?

A: The service station was right.

"By law, the original (registration) must be in the vehicle at all times" and must be presented at the safety inspection," said David Mau, assistant licensing administrator for the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.

Photocopies of vehicle registrations, safety checks or no-fault insurance cards are not considered legal documents, he said.


To whoever found and kept my wallet that I know I lost in Hopaco Express, Downtown, on Wednesday, Nov. 10. It had my driver's license, ATM card and $250 that I was going to use to buy Christmas presents with. May your dishonesty affect you in some way. Remember, what goes around, comes around. -- L.N.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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