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 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 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 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
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. It seems to
have stopped them in their tracks.
The numbers are:
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271