We recently received one of those chain emails that, despite being a chain email, actually had some pretty useful information about simple things you can do to protect your identity – and the contents of your wallet! In the interest of helping you, our clients, better protect yourselves from the dire consequences of identity theft, we figured we’d pass some of them along:
The next time you reorder your checks, instead of having them display your full name, have them display just your first name or initials. Your bank will know how you sign your name, but a would-be thief won’t.
Also, if possible, have your checks display your work number instead of your home phone number. This will add an extra layer of protection to your vital information.
When paying off your credit cards via check, don’t write your whole credit card number. Instead, only use the last four digits. The credit card company has enough information to link your check to your account, and anyone handling the check won’t have enough of the numbers to steal your credit card information.
This should be a no brainer, but: Never have you social security number printed on your checks. Instead, write the number on the checks yourself when it’s necessary to provide that information. As cautious as we may be, it’s important that you be prepared for the worst – prevention can only get us so far. In the event your wallet is stolen, make sure that you file a police report as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you have all of the 800 numbers for your cards, so that you don’t have to waste precious time tracking that information down in order to cancel them. Finally, make sure that you call all the necessary agencies to make sure there’s a fraud alert on your credit cards and social security number. You’ll find those numbers below:
Social Security Administration Fraud Line: (800) 269-0271
Trans Union: (800) 680-7289
Experian: (888) 397-3742
Equifax: (800) 525-6285