Malankara World

General Interest Reading

How to Prevent Identity Theft - An Australian Lawyer's Advice

A corporate LAWYER sent the following out to the employees in his company:

1. Next time you order checks, have only your initials (instead of your first name) and surname 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, 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. Place 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 work address. Never have your Centrelink Number printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary, but if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Run the contents of your wallet through 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 (not your wallet). I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travelling 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 mobile phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Dell computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information on-line, 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).

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

Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your Tax File Number your passport number and driver’s license 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 handed it in. It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

See Also:

Learning From Mistakes
This is a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. A newspaper reporter asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

10 things to learn from Japan... a nation in a Crisis
The behavior of the Japanese people during the national crisis is a great lesson on civic behavior during a time of crisis.

Yahrzeit - Things I learned in a Year
Close to a year ago I wrote an article entitled "When You Have No Choice" which discussed the passing away of my former wife and the challenges that created for me and for my children. A year's time – Yahrzeit – has now passed since her death and I wanted to share with you some insights I have gained during these last twelve months.

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