Thursday, March 16, 2006

This is from an email I received this morning . ATTORNEY'S ADVICE -- NO CHARGE
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. 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 won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you
have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a
P.O. 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.

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
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 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 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 immedi- ately 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,
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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