A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his

1.  The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of
first name) and last name put on them.  If someone takes your checkbook,
they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your
first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2.  Do not sign the back of your credit cards.  Instead, put "PHOTO ID

3.  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 will not have access to it.

4.  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.  However, 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 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.  Also carry a photocopy of your
passport when traveling either here or abroad.  We have all heard horror
stories about fraud that is committed on us in stealing a name, address,
Social Security number, credit cards.

6.  When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all
seem to do that now), do not turn the "keys" in.  Take them with you and
destroy them.  Those little cards have on them all of the information you
gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration
dates.  Someone with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access
all that information with no problem whatsoever.


Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case you loose or have your wallet stolen:

1.  We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. 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.

2.  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).  However, here is what is perhaps most important of all (I never
even thought to do this.)

3.  Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to
place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security 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 and
contents being stolen:


1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271