Preventing & minimizing the impact of identity theft

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RebLem
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Preventing & minimizing the impact of identity theft

Post by RebLem » Wed Jun 07, 2006 9:14 pm

At another site where I am a member, someone recently posted this advice, and requested that we pass it along. I would add that it is a good idea to get yourself a cross-cut shredder--I got one at Office Depot for about $60--and shred everything you are throwing out that has your name or address or any personal information on it. If its a catalogue, of course you need to destroy the mailing label, but don't forget that order form in the middle that may have your name and address printed on it, either. RebLem

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This may be old news to some of you, but I thought I would share it anyhow. A couple of these items were no brainers but others sounded like good advice.

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ATTORNEY'S ADVICE-----NO CHARGE
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 will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID

REQUIRED."

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 will not 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, (DUH!). You can add it if it is necessary. However, 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. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad. We have all heard horror stories about fraud that is committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number,

credit cards.

6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all seem to do that now), do not turn the "keys" in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates.

Someone
with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.

Unfortunately, as an attorney, I have first hand 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 and received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online. Here is 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.
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).

However, here is what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do
this.)

3. 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 dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being 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.
Nevertheless, if you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone you care about.



Another person replied:

Excellent advice. Hope we heed it.

One quibble though. The bit about "See ID" on the back of the credit card can make trouble for you too. I was talking with the owner of a nice restaurant in a resort, and he tolld me that MY card, which was marked that way, was not valid until signed, and that his contract with the credit card company required him to destroy a card like that. So I put my initials in small script next to it, and this served the purpose. Not being a merchant myself, I don't know the truth of this, and de facto, very few people have ever even checked the back of the card, but no sense taking a chance...
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: Preventing & minimizing the impact of identity theft

Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 07, 2006 9:58 pm

RebLem wrote:At another site where I am a member, someone recently posted this advice, and requested that we pass it along. I would add that it is a good idea to get yourself a cross-cut shredder--I got one at Office Depot for about $60--and shred everything you are throwing out that has your name or address or any personal information on it. If its a catalogue, of course you need to destroy the mailing label, but don't forget that order form in the middle that may have your name and address printed on it, either. RebLem

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This may be old news to some of you, but I thought I would share it anyhow. A couple of these items were no brainers but others sounded like good advice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ATTORNEY'S ADVICE-----NO CHARGE
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 will know how you sign your checks.

The way checks are processed now it's irrelevant how checks are signed because the issue of a forged signature only arises when the account owner realizes he/she has been victimized.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID

All the major credit card companies have instructed their merchants NOT to accept any unsigned card and, specifically, to reject cards with "Photo ID" or "See I.D." in the signature block.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:08 pm

Thanks, Reb. That's some valuable advice.

I'm curious about photocopy of the passport. I can't imagine a single authority that would accept that in lieu of the real thing.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:39 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Thanks, Reb. That's some valuable advice.

I'm curious about photocopy of the passport. I can't imagine a single authority that would accept that in lieu of the real thing.
*****

They won't.

But here's my tip: mail all bills directly from the post office if you have an accessible mailbox in front of your home. Thefts from mailboxes during the day, when most people are at work, have increased and THAT'S a great way for identity theft to be fueled.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

RebLem
Posts: 9117
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Post by RebLem » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:13 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Thanks, Reb. That's some valuable advice.

I'm curious about photocopy of the passport. I can't imagine a single authority that would accept that in lieu of the real thing.
No one is suggesting it would. However, having all the details about what exactly is in it can assist you in letting the authorities know it was stolen and how to recognize it if someone tries to use it.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:17 am

RebLem wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:Thanks, Reb. That's some valuable advice.

I'm curious about photocopy of the passport. I can't imagine a single authority that would accept that in lieu of the real thing.
No one is suggesting it would. However, having all the details about what exactly is in it can assist you in letting the authorities know it was stolen and how to recognize it if someone tries to use it.
Got it! Of course that makes perfect sense.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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