1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED” on the signature line.
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 of your credit card number. 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 will not have access to it.
3. If you are employed in a long-term job, consider putting your work telephone number on your checks instead of your home telephone number. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your physical home address. If you do not have a PO Box, check with your employer to see if you can use your work address. Never have your social security or driver’s license numbers printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. Howeve, if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
4. Make photocopies of both sides of all of your credit cards and store the copies in a safe, secure location. While you are at it, also do your driver’s license and any other important cards or documents you have, such as a passport. We have all heard the tip of immediately canceling your credit cards if they are stolen; however, if you do not have the credit card company’s telephone number or your account number available, you can be delayed in making this report, giving the thief more time to use your card.
5. If you cannot locate a credit card (or your wallet), immediately file a police report in the jurisdiction where you lost the credit card or wallet. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent, and this is a first step towards an investigation. While it may be a bit of an inconvenience to have a new credit card issued, particularly if you later find the lost card, it is a lot more inconvenient if the thief is out somewhere using your credit card.
6. If you lose or have your credit cards stolen, immediately call the three national
credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name. Also,
call the Social Security fraud line telephone number. The alert means any company
that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact
you by telephone to authorize new credit.
Keep these telephone numbers handy:
· Equifax : 1-800-525-6285
· Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
· Trans Union : 1-800-680-7289
· Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271