One of the most dramatic
increases in crimes is of a financial nature, specifically, identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when someone obtains a person's identifying information,
such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, or mother's maiden
name. Using this information illegally, someone can open new credit card
accounts, drain your bank accounts, purchase vehicles, apply for loans,
open utility services, etc. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in
America. Is it the number one consumer fraud complaint with over ten
million victims each year. The FPD has taken a number of complaints
regarding these types of crimes.
What To Do If
You Are A Victim
Contact the fraud departments
of the three major credit bureaus.
Request that a "fraud alert" be
placed on your file and include a statement that creditors must get your
permission before any new accounts are opened in your name. The three major
credit bureaus are: EQUIFAX 1-800-525-6285; EXPERIAN 1-888-397-3742; and TRANS
Contact all the creditors
involved. Let them know that your account may have been used without your
permission, or that new accounts have been opened in your name.
File a police report. Get a
copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require
proof of a crime.
Contact the Federal Trade
Commission. The FTC can assist you with additional information and maintains
a database of identity theft cases for use by law enforcement agencies. File
a fraud report with them by calling the Identity Theft hotline at
1-877-438-4338 or go to
Keep a record of your
contacts. Start a file with copies of your credit reports, police report, any
additional correspondence, and copies of disputed bills.
The FPD has an excellent ID
theft handbook available. Copies are usually available at the PD, Village Hall
and the Library.