Subject: Credit card fraud
A happy and credit card fraud-free new year to you all,

In January of 2003, John Rule posted a succinct discussion on the subject of identity theft which I printed and filed. The day after Christmas I could not find my card case containing all my identification. I retraced my steps to the last time I had the case, Christmas Eve day. Protecting my credit was simple. Two calls, one to Mastercard and one to the ATM bank. But also in the case was my Medicare card broadcasting my social security number to the world. I carry nothing with the SS# on it ordinarily, but I had seen a doctor and neglected to remove the health card afterward.

Five days later came a phone call from grandson who had driven me home on Christmas Eve--he had found the case in his car. How I lost it there is a mystery. In the meantime he had driven all over Oklahoma and half of Texas. I did not deserve that piece of luck.

After that scare, I resolve to follow all of John Rule's good advice. Thank you, your discussion was far more complete than any other I had read.

I shall continue to carry only the bare essentials. I leave checkbooks at home and take only driver's license, one credit card and one ATM card. Have photocopies of all i.d., both front and card, and write the phone numbers to report lost cards etc. clearly (you cannot always read the find print on the back. I have done this for years when traveling overseas, never considering what could happen right in my own home.

In Cortona, Italy, this fall, I found my cards blocked when I made a large purchase. With the shop owner's helpful phone call, I was able to clear the transaction. I had forgotten to warn the card companies that there would be unusual activity in a foreign company. Isn't it reassuring to know they are protecting us from fraud?

My best to you all and do continue to share your wisdom with us Ziners.

Jane Estus Tulsa, Oklahoma