Fraud Safety Precaution

Spring 2002 CSANews Issue 42  |  Posted date : Apr 05, 2007.Back to list

Dear Bird Talk,

A SAFETY PRECAUTION
Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each licence, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet, as well as all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

A corporate attorney sent this out to the employees in his company. I pass it along, for your information.

We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed in your name, address, SS#, credit card #, etc. Unfortunately I (the author of this piece who happens to be an attorney) have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone, obtained my PIN number from the 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.

As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll-free numbers and your card numbers handy so that you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction in which it was stolen ­ this proves to credit providers that you were diligent and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important (I never thought to do this) ­ call the three national credit-reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. 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 that any company checking your credit knows that 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 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 in their tracks.

The numbers are:
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian (formerly TRW): 1- 888-397-3742
  • Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
  • Social Security Administration (Fraud Line): 1-800-269-0271(U.S. Only)
  • Social Insurance ­ Information on the gov't. of Canada: 1-800-622-6232


Response:
We are unsure which CSA member to thank for this excellent advice. Please contact us, so that we can give credit where credit is due.