[Paleopsych] Good advice re protecting your credit

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Wed Apr 13 18:12:34 UTC 2005

Thanks to George for this. He notes: "The advice below is mostly correct.
See the following link [particularly near the end of the commentary] for
more specific info: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/scams/credit.htm ."

Please read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer
to it someday.  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 should 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 SS# printed
on your checks. 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 thieves 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 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
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.  But if you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care about.

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