Identity Theft Can Happen to You, Too


       "A Practical (and Easy) 10 Step Guide About
     How To Protect Yourself From Identity Thieves"

       We recently read this letter by attorney Gerald P. Nehra in the
       RADletter(TM) (*). The Message is so important to everyone of
       us that we secured Attorney Nehra's permission to publish it here.

      This is what he wrote:

"I was a recent victim of identity theft, and a $5,000
check, totally forged, but with my signature and
account number, and dated 1/2/04 (when I did have over $5,000 in the account) was presented at a Detroit area branch last Friday. My balance was below $5,000 and the check was not honored. The FBI is on the case, (which is much bigger than just my incident) and may have already arrested some of the bad guys. My account has been shut down and other precautions taken. Over the weekend I received the following - timing is everything. Even if you have seen it before, it is worth reading again:"

A corporate attorney (name unknown) had sent the following to the employees in his company:

"1. 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. When you are 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 won't have access to it.

"3. 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.

"4. Never have your SS# printed on your checks (DUH!).
You can add it by hand 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, 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.

"6. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a
photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or

"7. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's
committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security
number, credit cards etc. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have
firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month.
Within a 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.

"8. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know: We have been told we should cancel our 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.

"9. 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 (if there ever is one).

"10. But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even
thought to do this). Call the three national credit-reporting
organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name
and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that
until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for
credit was made over the Internet in my 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 I was advised to do this, almost two 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 I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my
wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to
have stopped them in their tracks.

"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"

             We thank Mr. Nehra for allowing us to use his letter...Richard
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Gerald P. Nehra,
of Muskegon, Michigan, is an MLM Specialist Attorney at Law. His 33 years of legal experience include 9 years as Director of the Amway Legal Division. His private law practice was established in 1992 and is focused on serving the legal needs of direct sales companies operating in the United States. You are invited to visit his web site at
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                          (*) RADletter(TM), Miller-Bridges Partners

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