Something to keep on file for your clients...or yourself
We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed using your name,
address, SS#, credit, etc.
Unfortunately I have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last
month and within a week they had:
* ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, * applied for a VISA
credit card * had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, *
received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record info online, and
But here's some critical info to limit the damage in case this happens to
you or someone you know.
1. As everyone always advises, cancel your 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 easily. Having to hunt
for them is additional stress you WON'T need at that point! Write them down
NOW and file them in a safe place.
2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen,
this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step
toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
3. But here's what is perhaps most important: 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 any company that checks your credit knows your info was
stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the
time I was advised to do this -- almost 2 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
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 1-800525-6285 Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195 Trans Union
Social Security Administration also has a fraud line at 800-269-0271
Pass this information along it could help someone else. The author of this
is David Teitelbaum. _______________________________Carole LeeHarvard UniversityOVPGCPA2 Garden StreetCambridge, MA 02138617.495.4955