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:
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."