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  • Identity Theft

     

    Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. It happens in Jefferson County, and it could happen to you. Identity theft occurs when a person has identifying information stolen by criminals. The criminals use the victim's information to commit financial fraud and theft. Identity thieves can seek a victim's name, address, date of birth, social security number, account numbers, and any other private information.

    Opportunistic Thieves

    Flagging

    Flagging is placing the red flag on your mailbox in the up position to alert the mail carried know there is outgoing mail. This also alerts identity thieves and tells them information is available to be stolen.

    Skimming

    Skimming is the practice of using a small electronic device to capture the information encoded in the electronic strip on the back of credit cards, debit cards and driver's licenses. Identity thieves can use skimmers to steal information in a variety of situations.

    Motor Vehicle Trespass

    A trespass to a motor vehicle involves someone breaking into a locked or unlocked vehicle to steal something of value. Identity thieves often break into cars to steal visible wallets and purses and use any credit cards or account information they find.

    Phishing

    Phishing is the deceptive use of email messages, social-networking sites, instant-messaging sites or cell phone text messages to steal your personal data (date of birth, credit card information, PIN numbers, passwords and more!).

    • You believe the request for information comes from a legitimate source, but the message is from the thief. The message has been designed and written to appear to be from your financial institution.
    • Your bank will never send you an email message asking you to verify or provide account information, but identity thieves use this form of deception to steal and use your information.

    Social Engineering

    • Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. The term applies to deception for the purpose of information-gathering or requesting money.
    • The practice is often seen in dating websites.
    • A target victim will be lured by ongoing conversations with a person who seems legitimate and asks for money to be sent to help them with a catastrophe of some sort, usually a hospital bill or something similar.
    • Sometimes a victim will be targeted by telephone. The target will believe they are speaking to a grandson or granddaughter who needs money to help them get home or out of jail. These are also considered identity thieves!

    You're a victim if:

    • You are receiving calls from a debt collection agency about debts you didn't incur.
    • Bills and accounts statements are not being received in the mail.
    • New accounts are being opened in your name that you have not opened.
    • You are turned down for a mortgage, a loan, or a credit card because your credit report shows debts you did not incur.
    • You receive a letter from the IRS stating you owe taxes on unreported income. 

     

    What to Do if You Believe Your Identity Has Been Stolen

    Report the crime immediately to the police. If the crime took place in unincorporated Jefferson County, call 303-277-5550.

    What to Do if You Have Become a Victim of Identity Theft

    1. Call your credit card company or bank as soon as possible to report and dispute the fraudulent charges and close the affected account(s). The police will need any credit card statements, copies of checks or other information you obtain for their investigation.
    2. Report the crime to the local law enforcement agency where you live. Have any documents or copies of documents available for the officer when making your report. If the theft occurred in unincorporated Jefferson County you may call our hotline at 303-271-5550.
    3. Call, or go online, to one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a "fraud alert" or "credit freeze" on your name and social security number and request a copy of your credit report:
    4. Explore other available options:

    Alert on Motor Vehicle Record 

    If your driver's license/ID number has not been used fraudulently, but other identity theft has occurred, you may contact your local motor vehicle office to request an alert on your record to deter further fraud. Please be aware that an alert may cause closer scrutiny of anyone - including you - trying to obtain a license/ID in your name or gives your identification to law enforcement personnel.

    Postal Holds

    You may wish to call the U.S. Postal Service at 800-275-8777 and request to have your mail held at your local post office for pick up. This will prevent your mail from being intercepted by the individual using your identity.

    Check-Approval Companies

    Contact check-approval companies to determine whether your driver's license/ID has been used to write bad checks.

    • National Check Fraud Service: 843-571-2143
    • Scan: 800-262-7771
    • TeleCheck: 800-710-9898 or 800-297-0188
    • CrossCheck: 707-586-0551
    • Certegy, Inc.: 800-437-5120
    • International Check Services: 800-526-5380

     

    Replacing Documents

    There are various organizations that can help you replace documents that may have been stolen or lost and place alerts on those records.

    • Birth certificates and other vital records: call the state's vital records office or visit www.vitalchek.com View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites.
    • Social Security cards: 800-772-1213 or www.ssa.gov/reach.htm View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites.
    • BCIS (INS) documents: 800-375-5283
    • Passports: 877-487-2778

     

    Do's and Dont's for Identity Theft

    There are things you can do to fight identity theft.  Your best weapon in the fight against identity theft is prevention.

    • DO store your personal information in a safe place; e.g. in a locked cabinet or other locked location in your home.
    • DO shred credit card receipts, old bank statements or any extraneous documents with your personal information.
    • DO protect your PIN and passwords.
    • DO remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approved credit offers and your phone number from telemarketers' lists. To opt-out of pre-approved credit offers, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT and place your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites.
    • DO take your outgoing mail directly to the post office, or place your mail into a blue mailbox.
    • DO check your credit card and bank account statements regularly.
    • DO request and review your credit report each year.
    • DO close all extraneous or unused credit card and bank accounts. Keep only those accounts you regularly use.
    • DO contact your creditor or service provider if expected bills do not arrive on time in the mail.
    • DO protect your mail from theft. Opt for replacing your old mailbox with one that locks mailbox.
    • DON’T give personal information to anyone by phone, mail or Internet unless you initiated contact.
    • DON’T carry your social security card in your wallet.
    • DON’T write your PIN number on the back of your ATM or debit card.
    • DON’T leave your social security card, credit cards or identification cards in your vehicle.
    • DON’T pre-print checks with your social security number, driver's license number or phone number.
    • DON’T choose PINs/passwords that are easy to guess. Create a PIN or password that contains a combination of numbers and letters.
    • DO monitor your credit report.  Free once a year from each major credit reporting company, or anytime you fall victim to identity theft.
        
    Last Updated: 1-14-2014