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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

What to do if you lose your purse or wallet: Tips from a Victim

Contributed by Anonymous

We’ve all heard stories about fraud that’s committed using your name, phone number, SS#, credit, etc. Unfortunately I have first hand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen. Within a week, the thief 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 (Department of Motor Vehicles) 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:
1. Cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep these numbers where you can find them easily.
Lost MasterCard - 1-800-MC-ASSIST
Lost Visa Card - 1-800-847-2911
Lost American Express Card - 1 800-221-7282

2. 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 towards investigation (if there ever is one).

3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations (or its equivalent if not in the US) immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. I had never heard of doing that until I was advised by a bank calling 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 take this action, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all credit checks initiated by the thief’s 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). This seems to have stopped them in their tracks.

4. I also make a copy of everything in my wallet. Don’t everyone rush to the copier either.
Numbers:
Equifax 18005256285
Experience (formerly TRW) 18883973742
Trans Union 18006807289
Social Security Administration (fraud line) 18002690271




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