GENERAL TIPS FOR ID THEFT VICTIMS
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible and KEEP A RECORD with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for valuable information at:
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information
Federal Trade Commission: Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report, and review your credit reports.
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM
Do not put outgoing mail, especially bill payments, in personal curbside mailboxes that are unsecured. Use United States Postal Services mailboxes, preferably those inside a post office.
Protect your important personal information such as your driver's license or social security number. Do not give this information to anyone unless absolutely necessary.
Shred financial records before throwing them away.
Be alert for anyone calling you from your bank and trying to get your assistance in a bank investigation by asking for your personal information.
Do not store your passwords or PIN numbers with your credit or debit cards. Commit passwords and PIN numbers to memory or use an application such as those on a SMARTPHONE to store this information.
Be suspicious of any e-mails from legitimate looking businesses that seek personal information. "Phishing" for information via e-mails is a rapidly growing trend in identity theft.
TIPS TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM OF A CAR BURGLARY
HIDE YOUR VALUABLES! Keep your belongings with you or out of sight. If you cannot take your items with you, hide them out of sight in your trunk or other concealable area. If you choose to hide your valuables in your trunk or hatchback area, do so BEFORE you arrive at your destination. Many suspects sit in parking lots and watch their victims and may see where you hide your valuables. Vehicle floorboards, dashboards, and seats ARE NOT good places to leave items such as:
• Purses and wallets
• Laptop computers, briefcases, and backpacks
• Shopping bags
• Cell phones and MP3 players
• Loose change and CDs
• Navigational devices
Parking your vehicle in a busy area may help decrease your chances of being a victim, but does not guarantee it. You should still be vigilant about keeping your valuables out of sight. If you are parking at night, park in a well lit area. If you have the option of parking in a lot with an attendant, that may also decrease your chances of being a victim. Here are a few more tips that may keep you from being a victim:
• Lock your doors and roll up your windows
• Activate your security system
• Consider adding a legal amount of window tinting
• Avoid using the console or glove box as mobile lockboxes
• AGAIN, DO NOT LEAVE ANY VALUABLES IN PLAIN SIGHT
Leaving your keys anywhere in or around your vehicle is an invitation to a car burglar. REMEMBER THEY ARE WATCHING YOU! Keep in mind that if you think you have a great hiding place for a spare key, a thief has probably thought of that hiding place as well.
Be aware of your surroundings. If you see suspicious activity, find somewhere else to park. If you’re concerned, report your suspicions to the police.
Even while you are parked at your home, you may easily become a victim.. Lock your car doors. Keep your valuables in the trunk or inside your home. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KEYS IN THE YOUR VEHCILE, even when your car is in the garage. Lock your garage walk-in door and keep your garage door shut.