Attorney's Advice... and it's free! Read this and make a copy for
yourfiles in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all
some of his advice!
The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of
name) and last name put on them.
If someone takes your check book they will not know if you sign your
with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how
sign your checks.
When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT
the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the
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
processing channels won't have access to it.
Put your work phone # o! n your checks instead of your home phone. If
have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. Never have your
printed on your checks (DUH!) you can add it if it is necessary. But if
have it printed, anyone can get it.
Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides
each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your
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
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, etc.
Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a
line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from D
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:
We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But
key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you
whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily.
File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was
this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step
toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do
Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to
a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never
doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
for credit was made over the Internet in my! name.
The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your
was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new
By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft,
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
no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet
this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in
The numbers are:
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about
Pass this information along. It could really help someone you care