Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), has announced a scheduled FLARA Legislative Conference and quarterly Executive Board meeting to be held in Tallahassee, Fl. on Mon., Feb. 28 and Tue., Mar. 1, 2005 at the Ramada Inn Tallahassee, 2900 North Monroe St. The historic conclave has been called to discuss and layout plans for action in the Spring session of the Florida Legislature. Legislative resolutions will be debated and approved on Monday and meetings with legislators at the Capital will take place on Tuesday. The meetings will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a break for lunch from 12 noon to 1 p.m. provided by FLARA.

All FLARA Executive Board members, Club and individual members including 3100 APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter members, and invited family/guests are welcome at this exciting annual gathering to foster support for the important issues that face Florida Union Retirees and seniors. The Legislative Conference registration fee is $80.00 and guest registration is $60.00. Registration forms and fees must be received by the state office by Feb. 21, 2005 to process your credentials. Contact Janelle Thomas, Financial/Membership Director of FLARA in West Palm Beach area at 1-561-792-8799 if you are interested or have any questions or comments.

Ramada Inn Tallahassee hotel room rate is $89.00, plus 10% taxes per night, for FLARA members and guests. Call the Ramada Inn in Tallahassee at 1-850-386-1027 to make reservations, and ask for the FLARA special group rate. You are to arrive on Sunday, February 27, 2005 and check in at the hotel. All roads lead to Tallahassee for FLARA/APWU Retiree Actions now. Join us in real APWU Retiree Solidarity!


The first twenty (20) APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter union dues paying members and spouse or family member who sign in and attend the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter luncheon scheduled to be held on a Thursday, the first day of classes, for the APWU of Florida State Educational Seminar hotel located in St. Petersburg, will be awarded a free luncheon, limited to two (2) free luncheons per Chapter Retiree family. Information about the name and location of the hotel will be published elsewhere in this issue of the Florida Postal Worker or when available.

The Retirees luncheon is scheduled from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the hotel restaurant at the Spring Seminar. Action by the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 12, 2004 at the State Retirees Convention approved unanimously future Retirees luncheons at State Seminars to be paid by the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter funds to foster APWU unionism and family ties between the APWU of Florida dues paying active postal worker officers, stewards, members, and family members; the Auxiliary to APWU of Florida officers, members, and family members; and the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter officers, members, and their family members. APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Happy Folders filled with interesting news articles will be distributed free to all in attendance at the luncheon. The State Retiree Chapter Executive Board will meet from 10 to 11 a.m. at the hotel.

APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter membership is growing with over 3,100 APWU dues paying members who pay $24.00 year union dues to the National APWU Retiree Department. Our State Chapter has the largest dues paying membership in the United States, and our Chapter is recognized by the National APWU as the #1 leader in planning and implementing new programs for the benefit of our members who live in 67 counties of Florida from the Panhandle to Key West. All National APWU Retirees Department dues paying members are automatically members of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter with no state or local APWU Retiree union dues to pay to belong to the State Retiree Chapter. We look forward to meeting you at the Retiree luncheon!`


Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security Number, Credit Card number, or other identity details to commit fraud or other crimes without your permission. ID theft is personal and painful, and each case for each individual is unique. It can take you months and years to clean up the mess and may be very expensive. Victims may lose job opportunities, have loans refused for education, housing, or vehicles, or even get arrested for crimes they did not perform. We suggest you first contact the Federal Trade Commission on line at
www.ftc.gov or phone toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP to get up to date procedures you should pursue when you find out someone has stolen or tried to steal your identity. Once the FTC home page opens up, click on the For Consumers side bar link, then click on Identity Theft link when Consumers page opens to begin your search.

State of Florida recorded 14,119 identity theft victims in 2003, fourth highest in the nation after California, Texas, and New York. About 10% of the victims were age 65 or over, and we have received a few horror stories from our Chapter members whose identity has been stolen. The main categories of ID theft in 2003, the latest info on the FTC website Data Clearinghouse, were Credit Card No. 1, then Utilities, Bank, Employment, Government Documents/Benefits, Loan, Medical, and Internet fraud in descending order.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends the below steps be taken immediately if you feel you are a victim of Identity Theft. The FTC has done a great job with the National Do Not Call telephone list!

(1) Contact the three major Credit Bureaus to place a Fraud Alert on your name and Social Security number credit file. All three (3) agencies will send you a Credit Report free of charge with the Fraud Alert included. Credit Bureau Telephone numbers: Equifax 1-800-525-6285; Experian (formerly TRW) 1-888-397-3742; Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289; and Social Security Administration fraud line: 1-800-269-0271.

(2) Close any accounts opened in your name by fraud.

(3) File a police report and get copies to send to your creditors who require proof of the crime.

(4) File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission which has a database of ID theft cases used by law enforcement.

An attorney recommends the additional steps be taken to ensure future protection from ID theft:
(1) If your credit cards are stolen, everyone knows to cancel them at once. The key to success in the future is to make a copy of all your credit card toll free numbers to keep handy, in order to phone immediately to cancel the stolen cards.

(2) Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each document at least every year. Then you will have all the account numbers and phone numbers to keep in a safe place to use in case you lose your wallet, pocketbook, valuables to a thief.

(3) When writing checks to pay credit card bills, DO NOT PUT THE COMPLETE ACCOUNT NUMBER on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers as the credit card company knows the complete number, and anyone who handles your check will not have access to it.

(4) Never have your Social Security Number printed on your checks as anyone can get it.

(5) Shred all documents you no longer need in a shredder. If you throw away your bills and documents in the trash without shredding, guess where some thieves get your identity, from the Garbage Dump or Landfill.

We have Norton Antivirus, Norton Firewall, SpyBot Search and Destroy, Ad-Aware, CW Shredder, Spy Audit, and Spyware Blaster on our computer at home to keep down the intrusion into our personal lives from all over the world. We do not open any E-mails from anyone we do not know to protect our identity, including companies who keep sending E-mail failure alerts! We have found secure websites have the letters “https” in the address bar while non-secure websites have only “http” in the address bar. Identity theft claimed 214,905 victims in 2003 in the United States, and we predict the number will escalate drastically when the 2004 statistics are posted by the Federal Trade Commission!

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