Help Thwarting the Thieves

December 15, 2005

A friend of mine heard about my dilemma with the ATM card being purloined and sent me this article written by an attorney. It gives lots of good advice about your new checks, your wallet and credit cards. It sounds like excellent wisdom.

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 won’t have access to it.

4. Do not put your phone # on your checks. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But 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. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) 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 information online, and more. But here’s 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. 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.

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).

But here’s what is perhaps most important of all : (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the 3 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.


One comment

  1. Don’t Bank On It

    Andrew Eikenberg is among the top henchmen at Access Capital Funding, an online business lending company that facilitates credit, debit card, and investment fraud around the globe. Access Capital Funding claims to help small business owners obtain corporate business loans without personal guarantee–FALSE GUARANTEE! There are numerous complaints of fraudulent fees and charges access capital funding has processed, no refunds granted due to their “no refund policy,” even though Access Capital Funding had not commenced services and program/service agreement had not been signed or returned.

    The complainant wrote to alert the Bank, which subsequently lodged a formal complaint with the Police. — A valid contract required the parties have (a) … meeting of the minds, in that they each fully know and understand the terms and conditions of the agreement, that is, if an agreement was in fact signed. However, A binding agreement was never entered into between the parties!

    1. Access Capital Funding refused to grant refund for services never commenced.

    2. Access Capital Funding charged unauthorized fees to complainant’s debit card after the service in questioned was clearly canceled.

    3. Access Capital Funding continued unauthorized monthly billing in excess of $1200.

    4. Business credit not established by access capital funding ultimately startup capital was not raised.

    Entrepreneurs will have better luck going to a bank and being denied than being ripped-off by dishonest corporations involved in fraudulent schemes.

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