Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » LEGAL ADVICE

    Filed at 7:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    And this has nothing to do with libel.

    Passing along a useful PSA:


    A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company

    1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, 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.

    2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED”.

    3. 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 as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

    4. Put your work phone # 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. You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

    5. 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. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

    Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. 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:

    1. We have 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.

    2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

    But here’s what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.)

    3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. 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 two 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 dead in their tracks.

    Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact when your wallet, etc. has been stolen:

    1.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

    2.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

    3.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

    4.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

    We pass along jokes on the Internet. We pass along just about everything. But if you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

    5 Responses to “LEGAL ADVICE”

    Comment by
    May 8th, 2005
    at 9:40 pm

    Last week when I went to the Post Office, they would not let me use my credit card until I signed it! How stupid was that? Of course my card and my receipt will match now. I have “see id” written across the card, but they said they could not accept the card without my signature on it.

    Comment by
    May 8th, 2005
    at 10:22 pm

    For some reason they have never been able to explain to me, the PO will not accept a credit card that is not signed. If it is also a debit card, they will happily process the transaction that way – and check you ID as requested in the process.

    I’ve been though this 4 or 5 times and have not found the PO employee that sees the irony.

    Comment by
    Jeff Boulier
    May 9th, 2005
    at 1:14 am

    “Last week when I went to the Post Office, they would not let me use my credit card until I signed it! How stupid was that? Of course my card and my receipt will match now.”

    As explained to me, the reason they did this is that the signature on the card is not primarily for the purpose of matching the card’s signature with the receipt’s. It’s there to indicate your agreement with the credit card company’s overall set of policies.

    Yours truly,
    Jeff Boulier

    Comment by
    May 9th, 2005
    at 1:49 pm

    Several local merchants that do not accept “See ID” credit cards (Best Buy and the Post Office included). Most places I shop do not do even a cursory comparison of the signature on my credit card to the signature on the receipt or the electronic screen they make me sign. (The electronic version NEVER has any similarity to what’s on my credit card.) All they care about is that my card is signed, but make no effort to ensure authenticity. That’s the way business is done now, since consumer liability for lost or stolen credit cards is now pretty much zero.

    This list of “hints from a lawyer” has been making the rounds of the internet for years, and much of it no longer applies, though some is still pretty useful.

    Comment by
    May 10th, 2005
    at 3:14 am

    Speaking of credit card signatures, this was a bit amusing. zug.co..._card/