ADVICE --NO CHARGE Read this and make a copy for your files in case
you need to refer to it
someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice!
corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in
next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on
them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you
sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but
your bank will know how you sign your checks.
2. Do not sign
the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".
When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO
NOT put the complete account
number on the "For" line. Instead,
just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows
the rest of the number, and
anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.
4. Put your work phone #
on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO
that instead of your home
address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your
checks. You can add it if it
is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine.
Do both sides of each license,
credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account
numbers and phone numbers to call and
cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a
photocopy of my passport when
I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's
committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand
knowledge because my wallet
was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered
an expensive monthly cell
phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway
computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record
information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the
damage in case this happens to you or
someone you know:
1. We have been told we should
cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free
numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those
where you can find them.
2. File a police report immediately
in the jurisdiction where your credit
cards, etc, were stolen. This proves to credit providers you
were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never
even thought to do this.)
3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations
immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised
by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.
The alert means any company
that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact
you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I was
advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There
are records of all the credit checks
initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew
about before placing the
alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away
This weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in
Now, here are the numbers you always need to
contact about your wallet,
etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just
about everything.But if you are willing to pass this information
along, it could really help
someone that you care about.