having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you are prepared to make that important call.  Keep those where you can find them.

File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here is what is perhaps most important of all:

Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name, and also call the Social Security fraud line number.   This is important in case a thief attempts to apply for credit over the internet in your name.

Alerting the appropriate agencies means that any merchant that checks your credit knows your information was stolen.  Furthermore, they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.  Thieves will be stopped dead in their tracks because any attempts to make purchases or use your information will be denied.

Here are the agencies and phone numbers:

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

If you or someone you know has been the victim of theft and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555).

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