1. Sign the back of all your credit cards. Optionally, also write "Please Verify Photo ID"
  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. Never have your social security number pre-printed on your checks. You can add it as necessary. But if you have it pre-printed anyone can get it.
  4. Do not have your first name pre-printed on your checks, instead have only your first initial printed. This makes it more difficult for thieves to forge your name and steal your personal information.
  5. Make a photocopy of all the important personal information in your wallet or purse. Copy both sides of each license and credit card. This way if your wallet or purse is ever lost or stolen you will know exactly what you had and will be able to contact the issuing agencies to report the loss. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Do not carry it with you.
  6. Have the phone numbers of the banks that issued your credit cards handy. If you suspect fraud call and cancel your credit cards immediately.
  7. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc. were stolen. This proves to your credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation.
  8. Call the three national credit reporting agencies immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your personal information has been stolen, and they must contact you to authorize any new credit. Doing this usually will stop the thieves dead in their tracks.

Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian: (888) 397-3742
Transunion: (800) 680-7289
Social Security Fraud Line: (800) 269-0271