View Full Version : An Attorney's Advice on Identity Theft

Vincent Sasso--
09-04-2004, 11:23 AM
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.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
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, 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):

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.

Brenda Templin
09-04-2004, 11:39 AM
Thank you, Vincent. I've copied it so I can pass it on. :)


Flora Porter
09-04-2004, 01:49 PM
Thanks Vincent,

This is all good to know info.


April Rank
09-05-2004, 08:43 PM
The wallet contents photo copies are an excellent idea. It might be a good idea to place one of these copies in a safety deposit box in case your wallet and your house both are destroyed by fire.

Daniel K Grubbs
09-11-2004, 01:34 PM
I have actually received this information numerous times from different associates via email, so you'll be happy to know it is making its way around. It looks like the same text too. Thanks for the information.
Daniel K Grubbs

Michael Harris
09-12-2004, 02:09 PM
To All:

You need to take all this advice and bounce it against the laws in your state.

I know that some states have strange laws about banking issues - laws that were designed to protect merchants and not the individual.

In Virginia (at least when I lived there), the date (month and year) that you opened a checking acount was on the check - by law. In some states, your full name is required. In some states, your first box of checks has to start with check 101. I used to change the first digit every year just to help with my accounting (e.g., 8xxx for 1998, 9xxx for 1999).

Some banks impose additional restrictions on what can be or must be on the face of the check. If your account is in your first name, middle initial, and last name, then the check must show the same thing.

The advice is good, but check the laws in your state and check the policies of your bank. Note that your bank will be merged next year so the policies will change again.

Gary Eads
09-12-2004, 03:29 PM
Thanks for all this great and useful information.

John G -
03-21-2005, 04:16 PM
This is pretty good information, but another trick you can do, if you have a credit card with this capability, is to register all your credit cards with a registration service. The charge is about $30 a year (US), but for that charge, if your cards are stolen or lost, you have one phone number to call and cancel your cards immediately. The other stuff to do is fine as well, but this little service can save you a little bit of hassle in the event of your cards being lost or stolen.

Theresa Bastron
03-25-2005, 02:01 PM
Here's a tip: There is actually a 4th (little known about) credit reporting agency! Always include them in fraud alerts, etc.:

Innovis Data Solutions
950 Threadneedle Street
Suite 200
Houston, Texas 77079-2925

Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 1358
Columbus, OH 43216-1358

About Innovis
ACB Services was founded in 1970 by Associated Credit Bureaus (ACB). ACB Services was created to provide consumer credit information to member firms. ACB Services' data was gathered from national and regional credit grantors.

In 1989 the company was purchased and renamed Consumers Credit Associates (CCA). Responding to requests from credit grantors for innovative solutions and enhanced services in the consumer credit industry, CCA worked to create unique products and services. Concurrently, the company began to gain commitments from major credit grantors to contribute data.

In 1997, First Data Corporation purchased CCA and renamed this division Innovis Data Solutions, Inc. In April of 1999, CBC Companies purchased Innovis Data Services from First Data Corporation.

CBC Companies has been providing consumer credit information through its credit bureau organization for over 50 years. As an affiliate of CBC Companies, Innovis will continue to develop unique tools for credit decisioning and risk management.