Discussion in 'privacy general' started by ronjor, Oct 17, 2006.
Thank you Ronjor, I already do all on that list. I used to get accused of being paranoid, but not alot lately. Lol
Identity theft can make life miserable for victims. Ten million people can probably tell you that.
The best weapon against such cases is legislation.
Procedures should be made much more ... rigorous.
However, there are financial forces in the US that strongly oppose any real protection for consumers.
It's a shame.
I can't even make a bank transaction without me being physically present in the bank in person and signing the transcation. Annoying but cool. Plus full 30-day guarantee policy on any transaction.
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 REQUIRED."
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.
Unfortunately, as an attorney, I 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 and received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online. Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
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
A very informative post. I'm not sure whether or not (2) will be of much use. Cynically speaking, the signature comparison on the credit card slip is your agreement to credit - not for identity purposes. Many moons ago working in retail, I've seen people sign the card at the cash register... the clerk then compares the two signatures - and let the sale go through.
Regarding cheques - I avoid them like the plague. One of our clients had a cheque "washed" and re-written (still with his original signature on it) for a different amount.
Just today, one of our resellers was *almost* victim to a significant fraud. Turns out cheques were being stolen out of the mail, duplicated and presented. His bank noticed the cheque was fraudulent - but I know that other cheques were cashed, because of the arguments about "I've paid you" and "No, you haven't" that went on.
I pay all my bills using internet banking (or BPAY) here in Australia. I'm confident enough to secure my machine (and the banks are sensitive enough to online fraud to reimburse me, should I slip up). I have no way to ensure the security of Australia Post.
Separate names with a comma.