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Survival Guide for Performing Artists

Personal Safety
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STOP, Thief!

What to do if your wallet or purse is stolen

The following comes from an attorney friend and contains useful information.  Petty thieves are most active in crowded areas and especially around holiday time. Bookmark this page in case the unthinkable happens to you.

"My wallet was stolen last month and within a week the thieves 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 personal information online, and more.  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.  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 an 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 SS#. The names and phone numbers are at the end of this message. 

I had never heard of doing that until I was 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 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 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 

Experience (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration (fraud line):1-800-269-0271 

We pass along jokes. We pass along just about everything. Do think about passing this information along. It could help someone.  

I would also like to add: do not carry your social security card on your person.  If your purse or wallet is taken the thief will have full access to your SS number."



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Last modified: November 30, 2001