Identity theft – Some tips to avoid – and to reduce the damage!

February 6th, 2013

Here are several useful tips to reduce the risks of identity theft.

· DO NOT sign the back of your credit or debit cards. Instead put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED”

· When writing checks to pay on your credit accounts, in the memo field DO NOT put your full account number. Credit card companies only need the last four numbers. This prevents all those handling the checks from getting your full account information.

· On your checks, put your work phone number and address, NOT your home number and address. NEVER have your SSN printed on your checks.

· Take all documents in your wallet and scan or photocopy them – front and back! If you have a passport do the same. [Of course, keep the results in a safe place!] If the wallet or passport is lost or stolen you have the essential information and who to contact.

So what to do if the worst happens – your wallet is lost or stolen?

ü Cancel the credit cards immediately. Numbers are on the back of the cards [which you have copied].

ü Submit a report of the loss or theft to the police local to where it occurred. Evidence that you took a reasonable diligent step.

ü Call the three credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your name.

     o Equifax 800-522-6285

     o Experian 888-397-3742

     o TransUnion 800-680-7289

ü Call the Social Security Administration fraud line – 800269-0271

These actions have been shown to truly limit the damage, both financial and otherwise, that could be done.