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Stolen Information 411

1.  The next time you order checks have only your initials instead of first and last name put on them. If someone takes your check book, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name.  However, your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2.  Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone number.

3.  Use a PO box or work address on your checks instead of your home address.

4.  Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks.  Write it when necessary.

5.  Make copies of the contents of your wallet.  Copy both sides of your credit cards.  This will let you know what was in your wallet and how to contact the individual credit card companies in the event your wallet is stolen.  Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

6.  Keep a copy of your passport when you travel abroad.

7.  File a police report in the jurisdiction where the wallet and/or checkbook was stolen immediately.  This proves to credit providers that you were diligent and is a first step toward investigation (if there is one).

8.  Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.  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.

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