Protect Yourself With Credit’s Little Condoms

,

I’ll soon be working again…part-time anyway.

Even so, I encourage everyone to sing and give thanks and praise for small but glorious favors!!!

.

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Jimmy cracked voice and I don’t care.

But seriously, folks.  I’ll soon be a fairly productive member of polite society and becvause of that, I thought I’d pass along a few things that we can do to protect our credit, our identification and our piece of mind, so we can stay members of a polite society.

1.Make it tough on the crook.  Give him or her no tips or clues as to how one might steal your good name and credit standing.  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. Don’t sign the back of your credit cards.  Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”   I’ve noticed that more and more cashiers are asking for an ID when you hand them a credit card, but more need to ask.   I really think the Credit Card companies ( or as I call them, “Hitler”)  should make it mandatory–YOU WILL NOT BE BLE TO USE A CREDIT CARD **UNLESS** YOU SHOW PROPER PHOTO I.D.

3.  When  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
will not 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, (DUH!). You can add it if necessary.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc.   This way, you’ll 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–one that rarely sees the light of day.  In my case, I keep it with my very dusty household cleaning supplies.  

OK, so Hazel I ain’t!!!  

Also carry a photocopy of your passport when  traveling.   We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud after some A-hole steals a name, address,  Social Security number and credit cards.

6.  I didn’t know this one until I read this list of do’s and don’ts.    When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all seem to do that now), do not turn
the “keys” in. Take them with you and destroy them.   Set thyem ablaze and bring out the marshmallows.  Better yet, heat them to the point of pliabiloity and make Vacu-Form cars out of them.

I just thought they only opened a locked hotel room door.  Hardly.  Did you know those little plastic bastards  have encoded in them, all of the information
you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates?? Who knew?   Consequently, any heathen with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.

Now, if your wallet or purse or fanny pack or whatever is pilfered by some idiot hell-bent to live in residence full time at those lovely penal resorts known as Folsom, Attica or San Quentin, here are some critical bits of  info that I hope will limit the damage.

1. For starters, cancel all credit cards  immediately. Really–do this first.  Now, the key is having immediate access to the credit card companies toll-free numbers.  keep those card numbers handy so you know whom to call.   Keep them where you can find them.

2.  The second thing you must do is call the cos.  File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen.   This is important.  This proves to credit providers you were diligent.  This action is also very relevant in an investigation, if there is one. 

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU SHOULD DO IN CASE YOUR CREDIT CARDS ARE STOLEN:

Call the three national credit reporting organizations to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.   This is vital because credit applications are easily made over the internet and using someone’s elses info this way is an even easier no-brainer.   

The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information has been stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.  Without doing this, your credit (and your life, for that matter) can suffer extensive damage that could take you years to fix and very  close involvement and interaction with….(gulp)….lawyers.

The good news is that these days, there are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases.    This means their activities are more easily tracked and detection is easier. 

Now, I’ll do you a solid by giving you the toll-free numbers you’ll need in the event your wallet and/or pocketbook and/or purse are stolen.

Equifax:   1-800-525-6285 
Experian (formerly TRW):  1-888-397-3742 
TransUnion:   1-800-680-7289 
Social Security Administration (fraud line):   1-800-269-0271

Be careful, kids.   Socially, it’s a damn jungle out there and well-being hungry pariahs that thrive in an environment of avarice, greed and an absence of guilt and remorse, are waiting to pee all over your day.

So, pee on your wallets first.

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 .inswim

2 comments

  1. First of all, I loved the tenor crack! Not that I could nail any of those upper register notes on a good day mind you…

    I had my wallet stolen from a health club 9 years ago, and ALL the advice you give is rock solid. Who would have thought you can surf a wonderfully funny blog, catch a tenor crackle, and get sound (pun unintended) advice about your finances?

    I’d hang around to read more, but I’m waiting for my 20% cut from a poor widowed African of royal descent who trusted me to act with discretion as she transfers her money out of the country while I park it temporarily in my bank account (details of which I discreetly e-mailed her of course). Any day now…

  2. All very good advice. One more bit: Never carry your social security card around. Just memorize your number and then put that little card in a safe place somewhere. If you ever lose that thing, you will wish you were dead. Going to the social security office for another one is like stepping through the gates of hell.

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