Friday, March 18, 2005

if wallet || purse stolen then ...

I received an email from my Mortgage broker (Accutira) today. It had some good advice that I would like to share.

A number of years ago Misty was a victim of identity theft. Some lady in North County decided to use Misty's identity to buy a Sprint phone, go on a shopping spree at Home Depot (or maybe it was HQ, don't remember and it doesn't matter), and others. We found out about it when a collection agency called. It was a nightmare.

Anyway here is the advice...

We've all heard horror stories of fraud committed when a name, credit card, address, and/or social security number is stolen. Here's the information you need should it happen to you or someone you know.

First... photo copy everything you carry in your wallet. When the time comes and you do have to cancel your cards, you'll have the account numbers and phone numbers to contact immediately. Keep this in a secure place you can get access to easily.

Second... file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent and is a first step toward any investigation if there is one.

Third (and most important)...Call the three national credit reporting agencies immediately and place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. The alert means that any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

The numbers to report fraud to the big 3 are:

Equifax 800.525.6285
Experian 888.397.3742
Trans Union 800.680.7289

The fraud line for the Social Security Administration is 800-269-0271.

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