Wayne Adult Community Center
Feature article from the December 2006 Newsletter

Identity Protection Advice

Below is some advice we’ve received regarding protection identity theft. We’ve included some comments of our own.

 1. When you are writing checks topay 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 companythe rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as itthrough all the check processing channels won't have access toit.

 2. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of youraddress. [Note added by your newsletter editor: Some establishments will not accept checks that have only a PO box as the address.] If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks. You can add it on site if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, more people can get it.

3. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc.You will then know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers andnumbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. When you travel, carry a photocopy of your passport in a location separate from the original.

 4. “Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put PHOTO ID REQUIRED“. [Note added by your newsletter editor: Unfortunately, it is the experience of your newsletter editor that the signature box on a credit card is very rarely checked by sales clerk.]

5. We have been told that we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key to doing that is having the toll free numbers for the credit card companies.  Have your card numbers handy when you call.  Keep both the card numbers and the phone numbers together, in a location (at home( that you will remember.

 6. File a police report in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent, and usually relieves you of any liability.

And perhaps most important:

7. Call the three national credit-reporting organizations promptly, to place a fraud alert on your name. Also,the Social Security fraud line number. The alert indicates to any company that checks your credit, that your information was stolen and that they are required to contact you by phone to authorize any new credit.

Here are the numbers you need to if your credentials have 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: 1-800-269-0271

 The above measures will protect you and often stops identity thieves cold.

W. A. Shapiro