September 20, 2014

Check Fraud

What to do about Check Fraud

A corporate attorney sent the following out to his employee’s in his company:

The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone steals you check book they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT 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 as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box use your work address.

NEVER have your SS# printed on your checks.

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card(s), etc. you will know what you had in your wallet and all the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel.

Keep the photocopy in a safe place. If you have a passport carry a photo copy when you travel in the states or abroad.

The attorney who sent this email has first hand knowledge because his wallet was stolen. 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 his driving record information on line. You cannot do this in ND.

Here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

We have all been told we should cancel our 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 towards an investigation.

Here’s perhaps the most important thing to do:

Call all three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. A person who has stolen your credit card(s) can apply for credit over the internet in your name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time the attorney who had his billfold stolen, was told to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done.

There are records of all credit checks initiated by the thieves, purchases, none of which a person would know about without putting out an alert.

The three reporting organizations to call are:
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