Subject: Good Advice For Your Good Credit, 3/26/2002

We've all heard horror stories about fraud (identify theft) that's committed using 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. Within a week the thieves 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.

Below are SOLUTIONS worth passing along as 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, and readily accessible.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know. A corporate attorney sent this out to the employees in his company. I pass it along, for your information!

As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the keys are:

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:

We pass along jokes; we pass along just about everything. Do think about passing this information along. It could really help someone.