Identity Theft is a common term used for crimes in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another’s personal information without their knowledge to commit fraud and other crimes.
Over 500,000 Americans become victims of identity theft annually, costing them and financial institutions approximately $750 million. Once victimized, it could take months or even years to clear one’s credit rating.
Identity Theft Methods
Thieves rummage through trash looking for paperwork containing your personal information.
Thieves utilize special storage devices to steal your credit card numbers as you use them at locations such as ATMs and gas pumps.
Thieves pretend to be financial institutions, companies, or government agencies, and send email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
Thieves hack into your computer to steal your email or other online account information.
Thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; new checks or tax information.
Thieves intercept sensitive information while victims are logged onto the internet at unsecured Wi-Fi locations (airports, hotels, cafes).
Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer.
Shred all paperwork with financial and personal information on it before throwing it in the garbage.
Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
Monitor your credit report regularly.
For additional prevention tips and Identity Theft Information visit the following websites:
The National Crime Prevention Council
Federal Trade Commission
The National Fraud Information Center
Contact the Naples Police Department at 239-213-4844 to file a report. Get a copy of the report and retain it for your records.
Immediately change your passwords and PIN numbers.
Contact your creditors and let them know you are a victim. These include mortgage holders, credit card companies, telephone and utility companies, banks, etc.
If your bank accounts or credit card accounts have been tampered with, close them immediately and open new ones.
If the thief is using your Social Security numbers, report it to the Social Security Fraud Hotline.
If the theft of your identity is the result of stolen mail, report it to the U.S. postal inspector.
Contact the fraud departments of all major credit bureaus and ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your file.
Trans Union: 800-680-7289
Social Security Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
U.S. Postal Inspector: 877-876-2455