Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Free Attourney's Advice
Protect your identity


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. 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

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 SSN# printed on your checks.
(DUH!) 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 travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories
about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, SSN, 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 two national credit reporting organizations immediately to
place a fraud alert on your name and Social Insurance 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 and addresses of the U.S. credit reporting
agencies you should contact about identity theft:

1.) Equifax (U.S.) 1-800525-6285
P. O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

2.) TransUnion (U.S.) 1-800-680-7289
P. O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634

3.) Experian (U. S.) 1-888-397-3742
P. O. Box 9530
Allen, TX 75013

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.

No comments: