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IDENTITY AND CREDIT CARD THEFT PREVENTION  Justina Toombs
 Feb 24, 2005 07:08 PST 

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IDENTITY AND CREDIT CARD THEFT PREVENTION - - ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY


1. The 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".


3. 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 Box, use 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 cards. 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 their tracks.

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
3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289 4.)

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
 
 

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<div class="Section1">
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><span style="">IDENTITY AND
CREDIT CARD THEFT PREVENTION - - ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style="">1.  The 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.<br>
<br>
2.  Do not sign the back of your credit cards.   Instead, put "PHOTO ID
REQUIRED".</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>3. 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<br>
check processing channels won't have access to it.</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>4. Put your work phone # on your
checks instead of your home phone.  If you have a PO Box, use 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.</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>5. Place the contents of your
wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both<br>
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 cards.<span style="">  </span>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.<span style=""> 
</span>But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case
this happens to you or someone you know:</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>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.</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>2. File a police report
immediately in the jurisdiction where your<br>
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).<span style="">  </span>But here's what is perhaps
most important of all:  (I never even thought to do this.)</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><br>
<span style=""><span style=""> </span>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.<span style="">  </span>There are records of all
the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I
knew about before placing the alert.<span style="">  </span>Since
then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my
wallet away This weekend (someone turned it in).<span style="">  </span>It
seems to have<br>
stopped them dead in their tracks.<br>
<br>
<span style=""> </span>Now, here are the numbers you always need to
contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:<br>
<br>
1.) Equifax:  1-800-525-6285<br>
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742<br>
3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289 4.)</span></span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1in;"><font face="Arial"
size="4"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><span style="">4.) <span
style=""> </span>Social Security Administration (fraud line): 
1-800-269-0271<br>
 
 <br>
<br>
<br>
<br>
</span></span></font></p>
</div>
<p>
</p>
<hr>
<p></p>
No virus found in this outgoing message.<br>
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.<br>
Version: 7.0.300 / Virus Database: 266.4.0 - Release Date: 2/22/05<br>
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