corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his
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 check. 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 number on your
checks, instead of your home phone. If you have a post office box,
use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a box, use
your work address.
4) Never have your Social Security
number printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if necessary.
But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
5) Place the contents of your wallet on
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.
As an attorney, 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, etc.
Unfortunately, I have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was
stolen recently. 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
But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case
this happens to you or someone you know:
6) The key to canceling your credit
cards immediately is having the toll free numbers and your card
numbers handy. Keep that information where you can find it, and use
7) File a police report as soon as
possible in the jurisdiction where your credit cards or wallet 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:
8) Call the three national credit
reporting organizations immediately, to place a �fraud alert� on
your name. 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
The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your
information was stolen, and they are required to contact you by
phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I was advised of 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 filing the reports, no
additional damage was done. The thieves threw my wallet away shortly
thereafter (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them
dead in their tracks.
Here are the numbers you will need to contact if your wallet has
Equifax: 800-525-6285, 800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 888-397-3742 , 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-680 7289, 800-680 7289
Social Security (fraud line): 800-269-0271, 800-269-0271