Outside Legal Counsel PLC

ID Theft - Prevention and Help

For Immediate Release | Posted Aug 01, 2003
https://olcplc.com/public/media?1059756566

Identify theft is a serious threat to you. How exactly can someone steal your identity? By using your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their own use. In short, identity theft occurs when someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

Here are some suggestions on what you should do to prevent identity theft and what actions you should take in your suspect identity theft.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name printed on the checks. 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. 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. 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.


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).

3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. 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.

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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The above article was issued by an OLC attorney when he previously worked in corporate operations and communications. Because these articles are highly informative, they are provided as a service of this law firm.
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