Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Valuable advice: Back up your ID: do it now!

Thanks to my friend Bob for this valuable info.  I am passing it along to everyone I know.    Tech Support Pits  From: Jean on the Dear Webby site  Re: Back up your ID      1. Do not sign  the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'      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.   In case your luggage is lost, take another list in your carry  on bag, especially if you are abroad and need immediate access to   those numbers.    Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because   my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves 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:     5. 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.     6. 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.)      7. Call the  3 national credit reporting organizations  immediately   to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud   line 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, if it has been stolen:     1.) Equifax:  1-800-525-6285  1-800-525-6285     2.) Experian (formerly TRW):  1-888-397-3742  1-888-397-3742    3.) Trans Union :  1-800-680 7289  1-800-680 7289    4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):   1-800-269-0271  1-800-269-0271     Jean