Prevention – 2002

Protect your identity

Thieves can steal it, run up huge bills, file for bankruptcy, and give you a criminal record.

ATM card

  • Cancel overdraft protection.
  • At the ATM, don’t let people behind you see the code you punch in.

Birth certificate

  • Guard info about you. Anyone with enough can access your birth certificate and get your date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and sometimes certified copies of your birth certificate.

Credit cards

  • Keep two or more copies of credit card numbers, expiration dates, and lines of credit in safe places. Never give this info to anyone over the phone except when you initiate the call to a legitimate merchant, bank, etc. or have an account with the co. calling.
  • Never leave credit-card or ATM receipts behind, nor in a public trash can. Take them home, rip and trash them.
  • Close unused accounts.
  • Don’t carry your cards in your check book.
  • Tear up carbon when you take your receipt.
  • Never sign a blank receipt
  • Save your purchase slips till the bill arrives.
  • Sign new cards immediately and cut up old ones.

Credit report

Call the big three credit-reporting agencies

  • Equifax, 800 556 47ll
  • Experian (TRW) 800 353 0809
  • Trans Union, 800 680 7294.

Put a permanent fraud alert on your file and ask them to take your name off promotional lists. They will automatically send you a credit report. Later order your report annually from one or more these agencies for $8.

Driver’s lic.           Don’t use your social security number for your driver ID number.

Personal checks         Include the minimum info on your printed checks. Retailers often want to write your credit-car, driver’s license, phone, or social security number on the check. Avoid this by paying with a national-brand check card [or credit card?].

Phone                    Consider listing only your name and phone number or having an unlisted number if you live in a well-to-do neighborhood. Don’t include ‘dr,’ ‘atty,’ or anything indicating wealth.

Pre-approved credit                Don’t accept offers for this. If you get one, rip it up and discard it.


  • The safest times to go into a bank are from noon on, on a thurs, sat, or sun, which is not the 1st or last of the month.
  • Safer banks have bullet proof partitions and no armed guard.
  • List major appliances, serial numbers, purchase dates, and prices. Attach sales receipts to list.
  • Engrave your driver’s license number on televisions, VCR’s and stereos etc.
  • To back up your written inventory, take color photographs or video of each room and its contents, each wall, and all closets and cabinets with the doors open.
  • Take close up, detailed photos of jewelry, antiques and silverware, dishes and other valuables.
  • On the back of each picture. write the date, general location and contents shown. If you’re using a video cam, describe and value the items.
  • Store your written inventory, photographs and/or videotapes in a safe place away from home, a bank safe deposit box, a locked desk at work or at the home of a relative or friend.
  • Keep a copy of your inventory and negatives of the photographs at home so you can update your list from time to time when you purchase new items, remodel the kitchen, add a room or make other changes.