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Free advice from a lawyer

Handy advice from a lawyer who writes from his own experience, a passalong email.

Your checks

  • When next you order checks, have only the initials of your first name printed. 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
  • Never have your social security number printed on your check. You can always add it if necessary.
  • Put your work phone number 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.
  • 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.
  • Your wallet

  • 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. While youre at it, make a photocopy of your passport.
  • Next to each card, write down the toll free number to call if the card is stolen. Dont forget the number to the Registry of Motor Vehicles
  • Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Thieves work fast. The key to stopping them and limiting your damage – is to cancel cards quickly.
  • If your wallet is stolen

  • File a police report immediately where it was stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent and its the first step toward an investigation if there is one.
  • Report your cards stolen and cancel them. Believe me, you will be SO glad you made that photocopy
  • Call the three national credit reporting organizations to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. This prevents thieves from applying for credit cards in your name. Such an 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.
  • Here are the numbers you need. Keep this with the photocopy of your credit cards.

    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 ?

    [courtesy of Business of Life]