How to Avoid Identity Theft


Copyright 2010, D. Hennessey

One thing that can take a big bite out of your day is the experience of losing or misplacing your wallet or purse. Today with the quick movement of information identity theft can be a real problem. If you have ever lost your ID you know the stress you experienced because of the possiblity of someone using your personal information to make purchases and requests without your consent.

My approach to avoiding identity theft is pro-active and being pro-active allows me to experience less stress in many areas of my life.

To avoid identity theft I recommend you read the tips sent to me by one of our considerate readers Ruchel who got some advice from a corporate attorney.

Please forward this posting to friends to increase their awareness.

1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED’. If your bank insists on your signing your credit cards you can add beneath “Ask for Photo ID”

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. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check won’t have access to the number.

4. If you are required by your bank to put a phone number on your checks put your work phone number on the checks instead of your home phone. Again, if permitted by your bank, if you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, you could with consent use your work address.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc. If your wallet is stolen. 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. Remember to also carry a photocopy of your passport and your tickets when your travel.

6. If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen you know you need to 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 these important numbers in a safe and easy to find place outside your wallet or purse.

7. File a police report immediately in the area where your wallet or purse was lost or stolen and make sure you have a copy of the report to prove the time when you made the report to any insurance agencies and credit providers. This proves you took immediate action and if there is an investigation when you make a claim you need to show you took action.

8. Call in your  area the credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and identification. 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.

9. When you travel make sure you carry your identification in a TRAVEL ID MONEY BELT that is discreetly worn. In addition, keep some extra cash and copies of your ‘id’ in a hidden pocket sewn somewhere inside your clothing.

10. Finally, always think proactively. If you are going out to a nightclub or a gym or go running or jogging or… bring the minimum of identification you need and carry it discreetly. If there is not a safe place to leave a purse at a busy club or if you are going to be on the road you may wish to get yourself  The SPIBelt – a Small Personal Item Belt a compact and discreet way to carry your valuables ID.

Please share this posting, it could really help someone that you care about. To share use the ‘Share’ tool below and as always I am happy to here your suggestions.

Best Wishes,