No. of Recommendations: 18
I got the following in an e-mail that WASN'T the prince of Zimbambwe offering me $1.8 million dollars. It covers a many things that we have seen on this board, plus of few more--all in a nutshell.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

The next time you order checks, omit your first name and have only your initials 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 checks.

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.

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. 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.

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, etc.

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:

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 easily.

File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, 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 this).

Call the three 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 in their tracks.

The numbers are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line):1-800-269-0271
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No. of Recommendations: 3
buckmizer, I'm sorry you've become the lastest victim of identity theft, but I thank you passing on such important info. Some things I knew—photocopying credit cards, leaving ssn off checks, but a lot of suggestions made me think. Most of my bills are paid online now, but back when I was writing checks, I always put the full account number on them, 'cause that's what it says on the outside of the reply envelope. But any correspondence I received from them has only had my last 4 digits "for your security" they say, so the same should apply to anything I send to them. Great tip!

I'd like to add one more thing that I didn't see mentioned in the list . Only carry as many checks as you need for that day and leave your checkbook at home. Got this tip from a piece my local news station did a few months back on preventing identity theft and passed that tidbit on to my mom, who'd carry her checkbook with her 24/7. Well, last week she "lost" her checkbook and went frantic stopping payment on checks and putting a halt on bills that were auto drafted from her account. Fortunately she found it in the car wedged between the seats. But she could've saved a lot of headache and worry if she'd left it at home.

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc.
And I know this is common sense so I hate to mention it, but remember to take your originals off the copy machine when you're done, especially if you're using a public machine. I've almost walked out the door, got a strange feeling, walked back, got my originals and kicked myself in the butt a few times :-)

Well I'm off to print your post and hang it up in the break room at work.

squirmyworm
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Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package...

How interesting and odd.

Seems like every thread about identity theft on this board includes this as one of the first things the thieves do with the new info. Just seems really stupid, as I'd think this would give the cops an ongoing way to followup the thieves and eventually catch them.

But, as the cop that responded to our situation said, "Criminals are stupid! That's why they're criminals."

Oh, and his first comment as he walked up to the house to meet with DH was, "Why the He11 can't people just leave other people's stuff alone!"

3MM
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No. of Recommendations: 2
3MM

But, as the cop that responded to our situation said, "Criminals are stupid! That's why they're criminals."

It almost takes the fun out of catching them :) This is why jails and prisons do not have MENSA chapters.

Oh, and his first comment as he walked up to the house to meet with DH was, "Why the He11 can't people just leave other people's stuff alone!"

If crime did not pay some of the time, there would be no crime.

Mike
There will always be a future in Law Enforcement
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Excellent post!

This happened to my husband and I a few years ago, one more number to add to the list of who to report identity theft to is the Federal Trade Commission. They were wonderful! A couple of years ago it seemed identity theft was not so prevalent and getting help was a bit more difficult. The people at the FTC are great and they have really useful resources. I strongly suggest everyone check out this site, it is very useful for all kinds of info.

www.ftc/gov

Regards,

Leanne






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Thanks for posting this information since I really needed to place a fraud alert on my account. FYI: Equifax now forwarded the fraud alert requests to all major credit reporting agencies on your behalf.

-jacalyn
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