Thursday, May 23 2013 9:08 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:08:29 GMT
A staple atop Church Street in downtown Burlington is gone. We told you the fountain was being removed last month. Church Street Marketplace leaders say it was too expensive to run and blocked foot traffic.More >>
A staple atop Church Street in downtown Burlington is gone.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:01 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:01:37 GMT
If you're approached by a Vermont State Trooper, there's one thing you may not see, a tattoo. That's because for six years the department hasn't allowed visible ink.But VSP Captain David Notte saysMore >>
Vermont State Police say it's considering changing its tattoo policy, to get more recruits. Right now you can't have any visible tattoos, but that could soon change.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:54 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:54:33 GMT
Yesterday's quick downpour is leaving long-term damage to Burlington roads and businesses. So much so it has the Department of Public Works looking closely at making some major repairs to the entire system. TheMore >>
Yesterday's quick downpour is leaving long-term damage to Burlington roads and businesses.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:24 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:24:21 GMT
Undocumented immigrants in Vermont won a huge battle in the state legislature this year that will eventually give them the chance to earn driver's licenses. That includes Jose Norman. "I've been hereMore >>
The new law won't take effect until January 2014.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:51 PM EDT2013-05-23 18:51:07 GMT
Crews are responding to a garbage truck that caught fire off Shelburne Road in Shelburne, Vt. According to the Shelburne Fire Department, something in the back of a Casella Waste truck caught fire. TheMore >>
Crews are responding to a garbage truck that caught fire off Shelburne Road in Shelburne, Vt.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:04 PM EDT2013-05-23 18:04:40 GMT
The N.H. Senate is expected to take up a bill Thursday to legalize medical marijuana in the state. According to the legislation HB573, it would allow patients with cancer, glaucoma, positive status forMore >>
The N.H. Senate is expected to take up a bill Thursday to legalize medical marijuana in the state.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:34:26 GMT
The Essex Fire Department and Vermont Gas are currently investigating the smell of propane at the Edge Fitness Center in Essex, Vt.FOX44 and ABC22 reporter Michael Page says they haven't found anythingMore >>
The Essex Fire Department and Vermont Gas are currently investigating the smell of propane at the Edge Fitness Center in Essex, Vt.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:22 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:22:39 GMT
The annual Spring Move Out Project in Burlington Thursday. The project allows you to get rid of unwanted, but still usable household goods. You can bring clothes, books, furniture, household items, andMore >>
The annual Spring Move Out Project is being held in Burlington Thursday.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:40 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:40:21 GMT
If you're planning on traveling this holiday weekend, you're not alone. According to AAA, more than 30 million Americans will be on the roadways. On average, they'll also be driving at least 50 miles forMore >>
If you're planning on traveling this holiday weekend, you're not alone.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:31 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:31:51 GMT
Each year between 5 and 7 million animals enter a shelter. Purina Cat Chow is trying to offset some of those costs. The company is donating $200,000 to 50 shelters and that's where you come in. A quickMore >>
Each year between 5 and 7 million animals enter a shelter. Purina Cat Chow is trying to offset some of those costs. More >>
31-year old Jolene Kearns says she had no idea there could be another Jolene Kearns out there, with the same social security number, until, as a teenager, she tried to get electricity turned on in her name.
"The lady came back and had to run a credit check and said, I'm sorry but you have an outstanding balance here," said Kearns, which seemed impossible because the then 18-year old had never done anything before to establish credit.
"I was pretty shocked, I was pretty shocked," she said.
Police told the Willsboro, New York woman that someone else had opened an account with the same social security number, her number, stopped paying the bill, and now owed hundreds of dollars.
Kearns says she didn't know how old she was when her identity was stolen.
More importantly, she had no idea of the work that lay ahead.
"It was phone call after phone call after phone call. It was really frustrating and you had to keep a whole record of who you spoke to, the time you spoke to them," said Kearns.
"If someone gets your social security number and creates accounts in your name, that is the kind of identity theft that is the absolute hardest to remedy," said Jason Duquette-Hoffman who heads the Vermont Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program.
The Federal Trade Commission says the identity theft of children is on the rise because it usually goes undetected for years.
In 2003, about 6,000 cases were reported.
In 2011, the FTC received more than 19,000 complaints, and remember, those are just the cases that were reported.
The FTC says thieves are targeting up to 140,000 kids nationwide each year, and stealing your child's identity is easier than you think.
In less than 60 seconds, I found several web sites which offered social security numbers.
One promised to find the number of anyone I chose for about $40.
Once I have your social security number then all I need is one more form of identification. Let's go with a birth certificate because those are available through public records. Once I have those two pieces of identification then I can get a driver's license.
And with a driver's licence a world of credit, your credit, exists at my fingertips.
"I can open up bank accounts, I can open up lines of credit, I can do all of these things we do as consumers in the market place and beyond," said Duquette-Hoffman.
By the time the you realize your child's information has been stolen, police admit they have little chance of catching the thief.
"To go back ten years and try to pick up on the trail is going to be tough," said South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple.
If your child becomes a victim, it can take years and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to clear their credit, and, even then, as Jolene Kearns found out, it's almost impossible to get that personal information back.
The only way to protect your kids is to pay attention.
"When you check your annual credit report, and if you don't - do, check your kid's," said Duquette-Hoffman
They shouldn't have any credit history.
If they do, contact the your state's Attorney General's office, and notify the police.
Also, if you are filling out an application that ask for your child's social security number, ask why they need it.
There are only a few instances when it's necessary, but even then, ask what kind of protections are in place.
Because the biggest mistake you can make is to assume that you and your children are somehow automatically protected against identity theft.
"There are 300 million people in this country. There just isn't the capacity to exercise that level of individual oversight over all these areas where we interact as consumers," said Duquette-Hoffman.
13-years after Jolene Kearns discovered that someone was using her social security number, she still routinely scours her bank and credit card statements - looking for any sign of trouble.
"There's got to be a way to protect me where I'm not always looking over my shoulder," said Kearns.
Again, paying attention is really half the battle here.
That means checking your credit report, and your child's credit regularly. Remember, if they are under 18 they shouldn't have any credit history..
You're entitled to a free federal credit report and if you live in Vermont, you're also entitled to another free check.
But make sure you check all three credit bureaus; TransUnion, Equifax, Experian.
Also, for about $30, you can freeze your credit your credit files and make it nearly impossible for thieves to use your child's information.
You can unlock them when you need them, for about $10, but that's a lot cheaper than becoming a victim.
Also, report anything that looks suspicious.
Remember, all of this takes a little work but it certainly beats the alternative, which you or your child can spend a lifetime paying for.