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The following is some good advice and information that the Ledger Group would like to pass on to you regarding identity theft.

To help remember what you have in your wallet, place the contents on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will then have a list of what was in your wallet, the account numbers and phone numbers of who to call and cancel, or report it stolen. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. If you have a scanner on your computer you can scan them and store them on a floppy disk or CD.

Here is some information that a Corporate Attorney shared with his employees:

We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed using your name, address, Social Security number, credit, etc. Unfortunately he had been a victim of a stolen wallet and within one 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. As everyone always advises, cancel your 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 toward on investigation (if there ever is one).

But here’s what is perhaps most important:

Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The bank told him to do that when an application for credit was made over the Internet in his 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 he was advised to this, almost 2 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 he know about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done. Shortly after placing the alerts, the thieves threw away his wallet and it was returned by someone who found it. Placing the alerts seems to hove stopped them in their tracks.

John Kirkwood, Resident Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Spokane, provided us with this information:

    HOW DOES AN IDENTITY THIEF USE VICTIM INFORMATION?
  • Obtain credit cards in victims name or make charges on their existing accounts.
  • Obtain wireless or telephone equipment or services in their name.
  • Forge or counterfeit checks, and open bank accounts in their name.
  • Gain employment in the victims name.
  • Secure loans in the victims name.
    ADVICE FOR VICTIMS
  • Contact your local police department to file a report
  • Obtain copies from any/all police reports made
  • Contact the FTC ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-idtheft
  • Download and complete an Identity Theft Affidavit available from the FTC website
  • Contact the fraud department for the three major credit bureaus and ask for a fraud alert on your file:
  • Contact the account issuer in question and ask for the fraud/security department of the compromised or fraudulent account issuer, notify them in writing and by phone and close all tampered or fraudulent accounts
    WHERE TO FIND MISSING TAX RECORDS
           By Randy Bruce Blaustein, Esq.
           It is not so hard to dig up documents you might need...
  • Canceled checks: Request copies from your financial institution.
  • # Records of purchases: Credit card companies can provide summaries of past charges. For cash expenses, compile your own records. Example: If you bought The Wall Street Journal every weekday to check on your investments, reconstruct what it would have cost you for the year (five days a week x $1 x 52 weeks = $260).
  • Tax returns or transcriptions showing line-item entries from original returns: These are available from the IRS for the past six years. Cost: $23 per return... transcripts are free. Use IRS Form 4506, Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form, which you can download from www.irs.gov or request by calling 800-TAX-FORM.
  • Schedule K-1's: Every partnership and S corporation issues these to owners. If you have sold your stake but haven't been able to get your K-1 from the entity or its accounting firm, ask the IRS for a copy.

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