Some helpful tips for keeping your wallet and your identity safe.
1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT write the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just write the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and this way, anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.
3. 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 business address. Never have your social security number printed on your checks.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, et cetera. This way, in the unfortunate event your wallet is ever stolen, you will know exactly what you had in your wallet, and have on hand all of the account numbers and phone numbers needed to call and notify the credit card companies. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
In the event that your wallet has been stolen, file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation.
And most importantly, call the three national credit-reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name, then call the Social Security fraud number. In this way you alert Social Security and the credit reporting agencies to the possibility that your identity has been stolen. Once the alert goes out, any attempts to open a new line of credit in your name will have to be authorized by you.
1.) Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
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