Identity Theft

What to do if your wallet is stolen to protect your identity?

Here are some helpful tips on protecting your identity.

1. 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 an investigation.

2. 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.

3. The numbers are:

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

4. 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.

5. The next time you order checks, have them print your first and middle initials only, instead of your first 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 will know how you sign your checks.

6. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone number. If you have a post office box, use that instead of your home address. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks – you can add it if it is necessary.

7. When writing checks to pay 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 full account number – and anyone who handles your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.

Tom Velevis, CFP®
H. S. Dreher Capital Management, LLC
275 SE Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC 28387