Skip to comments.Advice On How To Avoid Identity Theft
Posted on 04/18/2009 1:37:50 PM PDT by alice_in_bubbaland
ATTORNEY's ADVICE - NO CHARGE
Not A Joke!! If you dislike attorneys..... You will love them for these tips.
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.
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have first hand 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:
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. 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.)
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
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
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 everything.
If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.
This is excellent advice. I’m going to send this to everyone in my address book. Thank you.
Thanks & good advice!
Here is an important tip: If anyone asks you to write your SSN or your credit card number on a check, tell them NO!
If they insist, then you do not want to give them personal checks.
Does anyone use checks anymore for anything but paying utility bills? Geez even doctors take plastic for co-pays.
That is great advice. Thanks for posting it, aib, and thanks for the ping, pandy.
I even pay my utility bills online. :)
Utility bills are often quite easy to pay by means other than writing a check. The water utility I work at has three different methods, one of which is cost-free where they automatically debit the amount from your bank account.
I’m old school, I don’t pay anything online.
I did a lot of Christmas shopping online this year. In February, I got a call from Chase Visa informing me of about $1000 of “questionable” cc transactions. I had to cancel my card and have another one issued. I am now not a fan of online anything.
Hunt down and kill anyone anyone that tries to take your identity. Enough dead people might make a deterent.
Rule number one: Don’t marry a girl with bad credit and live in her parents’ basement with a rock band.
I suggest taking it a step further as I have. Go to the websites of each of the three credit agencies and place a credit freeze on your identity. It costs $5.00 each (when I did it years ago), but makes it impossible for somebody to open a new account in your name. As a bonus, all the credit card offers that stuff your mailbox every day will stop almost completely.
Thieves sometimes steal credit card offers out of your mailbox, apply and then check your mailbox for the new card when it comes. They then immediately change the account address. By the time you realize what has happened, the thief could have run up thousands of dollars in debt.
Does that change your credit rating?
I’ve never checked. It shouldn’t.
Excellent! Thank you.