Stolen Purse or Wallet – How to avoid Identity Theft
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 this advice.
A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.
1. The next time you order cheques have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your chequebook, they will not know if you sign your cheques with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign them.
2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PLEASE ASK FOR PHOTO ID”.
3. When you are writing cheques to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” or “Memo” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the numbers, and anyone who might be handling your cheque as it passes through all the cheque processing channels won’t have access to it.
4. Put your work phone number on your cheques 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 Social Insurance Nimber (SIN#) printed on your cheques (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 ID: Drivers 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. IMPORTANT: Always keep the originals and the photocopies in different places at all times, if you keep them together and if something happens then you have lost both your originals and photocopies as well. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, SIN, credit cards etc.
Unfortunately, a friend of mine, an attorney, has firsthand knowledge because his wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thief 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 MVR (Motor Vehicle Registry) to change my friends 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 all been told that 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. (Remember the photocopy from step 5 above)
2. File a local 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 the most important of all: (I never even thought to do this)
3. Call the two national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Insurance Number.
Here is what my friend explained: “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 thief’s purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thief may have moved on to the next victim”
It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact if you suspect that you are a victim of Identity Theft:
Canada Fraud Alert: 1-800-465-7166 or 1-877-249-2705
USA Fraud Alert: 1-888-766-0008 or 1-800-525-6285
Canada Fraud Alert: 800-663-9980
USA Fraud Alert: 1-800-680-7289
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything. But if you are willing to pass this useful information along, it could really help someone that you care about.
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This is not an all inclusive article and there is much more to be added, I will be adding more information on a regular basis. In the mean time if you have any good tips or experience that can be shared then please post these in the comments/discussion section below. Lets share the knowledge.
Stolen Purse or Wallet – How to avoid Identity Theft Discussion: Please leave your comments below
* Have you been a victim of purse/wallet/identity theft?
* Do you have additional lessons or good advice to share?
* What’s the most valuable thing you’ve ever lost or had stolen?
* Let’s hear your personal story !
Enjoy and be safe . . . A J