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2447 Santa Clara Avenue, Suite 202
Alameda, California, 94501
(510) 522-3235

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Avoiding Identity Theft

  1. When you order checks, use only your initials(instead of first name) and your last name. 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 should know how you sign your checks.

  2. When you are writing checks to pay your credit card account, 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Never have your social security number printed on your check - 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, and copy 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. Also carry a photocopy of your passport wherever you travel.

To limit possible damage in case you lose your wallet or personal information is stolen, you should do the following:

  1. Cancel your credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily.

  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen. This proves to the credit companies you were diligent, and is the first step toward an investigation.

  3. Most importantly, call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. 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.

The numbers for the national credit reporting organizations are:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian(formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

The social security administration fraud line number is 1-800-269-0271

More Information

Office of the Attorney General

Socail Security Fraud Line

Attorney General's Office

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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