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.
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
sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".
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
4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a
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.
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
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.
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
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
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your
wallet, etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
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.