Posted by: Donna Cunningham | March 31, 2014

Crucial Information about Preventing Identity Theft.

I received this by email this morning, and felt it was very important to pass along.  Identity theft can be ruinous and take years to overcome, because your information would be passed along  via the internet to networks of identity thieves.

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT  “PASS ALONG”

ATTORNEY’s ADVICE on Preventing Identity Theft  (Number 7 is the most important) 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! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

1. Do not sign  the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’ 

2. 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.

3. 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. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.

4. 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. In case your luggage is lost, take another list in your carry on bag, especially if you are abroad and need immediate access to those numbers. Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have first hand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves 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: 5. 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.

6.  Filepolice 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.)

7. Call  the  3 national credit reporting organizations  immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line 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, if it has been stolen: 1.) Equifax:  1-800-525-6285  1-800-525-6285   2.) Experian (formerly TRW):  1-888-397-3742  1-888-397-3742  3.) Trans Union :  1-800-680 7289  1-800-680 7289  4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):   1-800-269-0271  1-800-269-0271   We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

 

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