Cool Stuff Spotlight

I was just sent one of those e-mails that asks you to forward after reading. My first thought was “Oh, great another e-mail chain letter!” I really don’t like those. I mean, I have enough to worry about without wondering that if I don’t forward this e-mail, my dog’s hair will fall out. Or after I do forward, all of my dreams and wishes will come true, just like a Disney movie. If that was the case, I would be sitting on a beach right now sipping some exotic drink and feeling sorry for people who have to work for a living! I mean jeez, come on!!

Ok, I realize that I wandered away from my chain of thought just then. Sorry about that. I’m back now. What got my attention was that this e-mail had actual information that was useful. And asked that I forward it to people who I thought would like the information as well. And here is the bonus. I did not have to worry about some curse coming down on my head or wait for my rainbow full of riches to come pouring through my window. Nice huh?

So since I don’t have e-mail access to everyone, here is a copy of what I received. I hope that you will find it as useful as I did.

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

Not A Joke!! You will love them for these tips.

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 his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

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.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have first hand 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

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):
1-800-269-0271

So feel free to forward this to any and all you know. You won’t be cursed if you don’t want to send it to anyone, and no, you won’t be granted your hearts desire if you do.  Don’t you just love free will?   Thanks for listening.  Till next time.

Regards,

Tracey

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