This message was copied from an email, and so this story has been going around to a few, but just in case, I am posting it, mainly so that I will know where the phone and names are of who to contact.  I can always find ways to the internet, finding a PDA or RIM, could be another story while out on the road.


Allan -


Identity Theft:  Some Good Advice

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.

A corporate attorney sent this out to the employees in his company. I
pass it along, for your information.  We've all heard horror stories
about fraud that's committed us in your name, address, SS#, credit, etc.

Unfortunately I (the author of this piece who happens to be an attorney)
have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month and
within a week the thieve(s) 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 [DPS] 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. As everyone always advises, cancel
your 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 easily. File a police report immediately in the
jurisdiction where it
was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a
first step  toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never ever thought to do
this):  call the three national credit reporting organizations
immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#.  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 2 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 in their tracks.

The numbers are:
Equifax: 800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 800-269-0271

What a nightmare that would be!  Watch out for your wallets/phones/purses!