How to Save Yourself When You Are a Victim of Theft

Reblogger Barbara Calwhite
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri

The list provided here is priceless.  You never know when you will need it.

Original content by Suzanne McLaughlin

Even  if you dislike attorneys..You will love them for  these tips.  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 isn ecessary. But if you have ot printed, anyone can get it.

 4. 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 first hand 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 tolen, 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: 1-800-525-6285 

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

 3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7288

 4.) Social Security Administration (fraudline):  1-800-269-0271

 We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything...How about something useful as well?  If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about .

Suzanne McLaughlin

Sabinske & Associates, Inc.   612-202-0225

Visit my facebook fan page McLaughlin Homes 

People who work hard get lucky more often. - Donald Trump


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Michele Cadogan-Cell 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

Thanks for the tips.

Apr 11, 2010 11:55 AM #1
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Thanks for the reblog.  It is a nice reminder to keep handy.  I actually printed it to remind myself and put it in the file with important information like all the credit card lingo and loan information. 

Apr 11, 2010 11:59 AM #2
Sandra White
John L Scott Real Estate - Port Townsend, WA
Experienced Residential Resale Broker

Great advice I have printed out this list and make sure I have done it all.  Thanks for posting.

Apr 11, 2010 12:03 PM #3
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744


Great repost. This is vital information. I just missplaced a credit card and did not know where it was. My wife is so organized she had everything needed to call the credit card company and help me remember where I last used it. Of course, I left it lay on the counter and thankfully disaster was averted.


Apr 11, 2010 12:04 PM #4
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation


My niece was a victim of identity theft just as she was graduating from college.  12 years later things are still showing up.  It never goes away.

I thought your blog and list were excellent.  If I can help anyone by re-blogging, that will be great.  Thanks so much for all the numbers and suggestions!!

Apr 11, 2010 06:36 PM #5
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Barbara these really are some excellent tips. People often times forget what to do because of being panicked.

Apr 15, 2010 11:46 PM #6
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Barbara, that really was great information. I'm printing it for my file!

Jun 02, 2010 08:07 AM #7
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Barbara Calwhite

417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation
Ask me about finding a new home!
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