Michael Benedetto

Protecting your hard-earned money

Dear Friend,

Today’s busy world is filled with both opportunities and challenges for consumers. Unfortunately, from identity theft to annoying junk mail filled with "pre-approved" credit card offers, New Yorkers are at risk of being cheated out of their hard-earned money. Anyone can become a victim of identity theft or be unfairly treated as a consumer. However, help is available.

As a member of the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, I am constantly working with my colleagues to fight for laws that protect you and your family.

The information in this brochure will help you protect your privacy and ensure you have access to accurate information you need to make informed decisions regarding your finances. As always, I invite you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Michael Benedetto
Member of the Assembly

Assemblyman Benedetto: Working for You
Get news and consumer protection initiative information at
Guarding against identity theft

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S., costing 9.9 million Americans nearly $5 billion last year, according to the U.S. Postal Service. To protect yourself and your family, follow these simple, but important steps in your everyday life:

  • Avoid carrying extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse.

  • Don’t provide personal information to any person or company that initiates contact with you. Only provide information to people that you contact directly. Pay special attention to e-mails and phone calls you receive-even if it’s from what appears to be a reputable company.

  • Confirm if personal information is required to open an account or complete a transaction. If it isn’t, don’t give it!

  • Keep your PINs random. Don’t use obvious passwords or PIN codes, such as your birth date, your Social Security number or your mother’s maiden name.

  • Keep your personal information, such as bills, passports or Social Security cards, in a secure location.

  • Get your mail ASAP. Pick up your incoming mail as soon as possible. If you’re going away, put your mail on hold or arrange for it to be picked up.

  • Cancel any unused credit cards. Keep only what you need.

Protect your Social Security number! Only give it if you are confident that the information is going to a secure, legitimate and reputable organization
Monitoring your credit... for free

New York residents can now order one free credit report every year from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to monitor any activity on your credit report from all three of the bureaus: Experian, Equifax and/or TransUnion.

Reports can be ordered online at or by calling (877) 322-8228. Also, the Annual Credit Report Request form can be printed off and mailed to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Review your consumer credit reports annually to be sure you’re aware of any and all activity
Pre-empt the pre-approvals

Nobody likes getting junk mail. If you’ve had your fill of "You’ve been pre-approved!," you can tell them to "Stop!"

The Federal Credit Reporting Act allows you to "opt out" of receiving future "pre-approved" or "pre-screened" solicitations for credit or insurance.

Simply call (888) 5OPTOUT or visit You can choose to opt out for five years or permanently.

Shred and destroy any unwanted documents that contain personal information-including credit card offers!
Internet drug pricing - find the best prices online

Consumers can search for the best prescription drug prices online, and can visit to find pharmacies and compare prices.

Unfortunately, the governor“s 2006 budget proposal calls for the elimination of this valuable resource. Assemblyman Benedetto will fight to keep this popular tool so New Yorkers can comparison shop for the best prices and save money on prescriptions.

Further protecting consumers
  • Preventing "Phishing"
    The Assembly passed legislation making it easier to prosecute thieves who use deceiving e-mails, pop-up ads or SPAM to rob consumers (A.8025-B, awaiting Senate approval)

  • Security Breach Notification
    Businesses and government agencies are now required to give consumers adequate notice when a security breach that could publicize personal information takes place, so consumers can take protective measures

  • Wireless Telephone Directory
    A law that prohibits companies or individuals from getting your cell phone number for the stated purpose of creating a wireless telephone directory was passed


Assemblyman Benedetto

Michael Benedetto
3369 E. Tremont Ave.
Bronx, NY 10461
Tel: (718) 892-2235

Dreiser Community Center
177 Dreiser Loop, Room 12
Bronx, NY 10475
Tel: (718) 320-2220