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Something to consider

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I received some good advice from my banker today that I thought I'd pass along:

Even if you have heard about this info before, its worth your time as a refresher course.


Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice!

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. 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.

3. 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. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

4. 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 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, 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 it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). Highly recommended and it pays off!

But here's what is perhaps most important: (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 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):

[ October 02, 2003, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #2 of 5
One thing I learned in my short tenure at the hospital here ( [img]redface.gif[/img] ) was that Medicaid members are billed, and known, by their social security numbers. There were other health insurances that are also using members ss# for their ID.

I had access to hundreds of people's information.

I had dates of birth, addresses, home and work phones, next of kin.....if I were a thief, I'd be in heaven. I hope the insurance companies wise up and start issuing OTHER numbers for their policies.

Iowa uses your ss# for your Drivers License number unless you specifically ask to have another number assigned.

Almost every bill I get tells me to put my account number on the check to make it easier on them.

We wonder why fraud runs rampant, then businesses keep doing stupid things like that. :
post #3 of 5
great advice, nolo. one caveat from another MT lawyer --

using initials only on your checks can pose a problem. cross-verification is common in the financial markets. if you sign credit card receipts with a full name, and your checks are initial-signed, you can create some situations that are ripe for suspicious or ignorant merchants (or their employees) to question your legality in using the initial-signed checks.

I know this is a very minor issue, and one that probably is more theoretical than practical, but still it's worth bearing in mind.

post #4 of 5
Yes, I guess that it is good advice, yet it is troubling that
we live in this time where we give out as little information
as pos
post #5 of 5
Identity theft is huge these days, and it is truly a nightmare to try and rectify it once the wheels are in motion.

Largely because of minions like this.
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