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Stolen Wallet and Identity Theft - Legal advice

Mar 17, 2007 11:42 AM
by leonmaurer

This sounds like really good advice !!!!!

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

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 P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do
not have a P.O. 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.

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 org anizations 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): 1-888-397-3 742
3.) Trans   Union: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):   1-800-269-0271

We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about
But if you are willing to pass this information along, it could really
help someone that you care about   ATTORNEY'S 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!

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