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Got Security?

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- I've lived in many cities during my lifetime and visited many more, and usually, I am vigilant securing my purse and valuables wherever I am. However, July 12 around 3 p.m., I, my mother-in-law, Laura Zazworsky, son, Danny, and daughter, Jennie, were driving around downtown Wichita. We parked in a parking lot right across from the Keeper of the Plains statue to take a quick peek at the river and the sculpture. I was feeling pretty safe, so I locked the purses in the car, set the vehicle alarm, and off we went.

Less than 15 minutes later, the car's alarm was sounding, so my son and I hurried over and found the back driver's side window smashed and the purses gone. My false sense of security in living in the Midwest was gone.

Having your personal items stolen is never pleasant, but here are some things I had done before the theft that made it a little easier:
- I made copies, front and back, of all the identification, credit cards in my and my husband's wallets.
- I made copies of our passports.
- I made a list of all the other cards in our wallets, such as gift cards, grocery store cards, library cards, etc.
- I put these lists in a safe place, like a safe or safety deposit box.

I also called Equifax at 800-685-1111 to put a fraud alert on both my and my husband's social security numbers. They alerted the other two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Experian. They also suggested I request a free credit report within 90 days of the theft.

It's important to do the same thing for children's social security numbers if they are taken as well. You have to mail in a request in for them. See the Web site www.equifax.com for more information.

I also called McConnell's law enforcement desk to report the theft of our DD Form 1173s, our identification cards.

The havoc is still being wreaked against my identity, but at least now I feel I have a little bit of control again. I've been told that this will take at least six months to a year to get all cleared. Be vigilant, and do not be a victim.