ID Theft AND CC PROTECTION – Preparedness for Tragedy

PhotoFunia-a349ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

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Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

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 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.

3. Put your work phone # 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. 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.

4. Place the contents of your wallet on 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 thieves 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:

5. 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.

6.. 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.)

7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line 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.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):

1-800-269-0271 1-800-269-0271

We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything.

If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

Debtor’s Hell – What to do about debt and debt collection harassment l Another Kind of Financial Crime in America

 

The battle by Joanne M. Johnson of Leominster, who lives on a disability check, to get her car back took an emotional toll. (Globe Staff Photo / Michele McDonald)

If you are being hounded by debt collectors. STOP ! Don’t talk to them. Let them call. DON’T TALK TO THEM. Find out if they are licensed to collect in your state and what your state rights are. If they are not licensed in most states, they have no legal standing to collect from you ! Get on the web and get your free credit report that you are entitled to annually from all the Credit Reporting agencies. Find out who is listing you as owing and is a collector ( meaning you never owed them any $$ ever directly). Get the address and then go here. DO NOT FALL FOR ANY SERVICE THAT CHARGES YOU TO HANDLE THIS. There is NOTHING that they can do, that you can’t do. Then study this site which is outstanding to guide you in what your next step is. IF IT IS BAD, study this site and get a very clear training on how to handle your debt collectors problems. All the education, form letters and addresses, etc are on this board. There is a sane way out. This was one of the first web projects that I was involved in putting together. These people know their stuff and there are lots of people willing to help. State and federal laws regulate how these bottomfeeders behave.

Get your education and get them off your back here . . . CreditBoards

A few of the many forums with detailed information and discussion that you will find . . 

Credit Forum

Credit Reports, Collections, Credit Cards and related discussion

Medical Billing & Medical Collections

Discussion of medical billing issues and collections.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy discussion

Foreclosures/Loan Modifications

While every lender, foreclosure and modification situation is different, this is a place to discuss and share your experiences.

 

Chexsystems Help

Discussion and help for consumers who have trouble getting a bank account.

   

Debt Consolidation, Counseling and Management

Discussion of debt management inc’ DMP’s, consolidation, settlement and consumer credit counseling

Military Credit

For the credit issues that are unique to our military members

In 2006, a  Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation into the world of consumer debt in the United States found a system where debt collectors have a lopsided advantage, debtors are often treated shabbily by collectors and the courts, and consumers can quickly find themselves in a life-upending financial crisis.

 

No mercy for consumers

Firms’ tactics are one mark of a system that penalizes those who owe

This story was reported by Spotlight team members Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour, Heather Allen, and editor Walter V. Robinson. It was written by Rezendes and Latour.

First of four parts | July 30, 2006

   READ THE FULL SERIES HERE

This Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation into the world of consumer debt in the United States found a system where debt collectors have a lopsided advantage, debtors are often treated shabbily by collectors and the courts, and consumers can quickly find themselves in a life-upending financial crisis. Audio AUDIO: Spotlight reporters talk about the series
Debtors' Hell -- Peter Damon
(Michele McDonald / Globe Staff)

Dignity faces a steamroller

Debtors' Hell -- Connie Sorenson

Enforcers’ might goes unchecked

MA Help & advice: ( Laws and agencies in other States vary.  Start with the State Banking regulators)

Groups & associations: