Did you know that Identity Theft is quickly becoming the crime of the 21st century? In fact, nearly 12 million Americans were the victims of identity theft in 2011, leaving frustrated consumers with the difficult task of navigating their way through the process of reporting this devastating crime to the proper authorities, repairing the damage caused by the unauthorized use of their personal information, and finally, restoring and clearing their good name and credit.
It’s likely that if you haven’t already been the victim of identity theft, someone you know has been. Would you know what to do in the event an identity thief steals from you?
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit offers these basic steps for you to follow should your personal information be compromised:
• Report the incident to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus and ask them to place a “fraud alert” on your credit report.
• Order a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com so you can review the report for unauthorized charges.
• Request a victim’s statement that asks creditors to contact you prior to opening new accounts or making changes to existing accounts.
• Immediately close accounts with fraudulent activity.
• Contact your bank or financial institution.
• Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency.
• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Clearinghouse (1-877-IDTHEFT)
If you would like additional information you may contact the Sheriff’s Office Fraud line at 477-1242. We offer free resources, tools and support to assist you in safeguarding your identity and finances.
If you would like one of our highly trained Crime Prevention Specialists to speak at your next community or business meeting about identity theft or frauds and scams, call 477-1400. These services are offered to you, free of charge.