Monday, August 15, 2005

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

... forwarded by John P. Thanks John & Fred for sharing this information

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hi John,

This is some good information to tuck away somewhere in case you ever need it. This originally came from the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) but I have amended it to make it relevant to Americans, Canadians and Brits . . .


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. 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 cheque with just your Initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your cheques.
  2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".
  3. When you are writing cheques 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 cheque as it passes through all the cheque processing channels won't have access to it.
  4. Put your work phone # on your cheques 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.
  5. Never have your SIN# printed on your cheques. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  6. 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 travelling either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, SIN, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a creditline 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:
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • Call the national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Insurance Number (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 when your wallet, etc. has been stolen. In Canada, call Equifax and TransUnion, in the United States call Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and in the U.K. call Equifax.


888-766-0008 or 800-525-6285
0870 010 2091




We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything but if you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

Kindest regards,
Fred Glendening
Toronto, Canada

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