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Identity theft is a major growing crime not only in Westminster, but nationwide. Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone’s identifying information, such as name, address, social security number, and date of birth. The identity thief uses that information to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, taking over a victim’s financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, applying for credit cards, and social security benefits. A person’s identifying information is obtained by stealing mail, dumpster diving, hacking through the Internet, home and automobile burglaries, purse/wallet theft, and insiders (waiters, retail stores, etc.).
Some preventive actions include:
- remove mail from your mailbox right after delivery
- deposit outgoing mail in post office collection mailboxes
- never give personal information over the telephone
- shred pre-approved credit card applications
- order your credit report from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian, once a year to check for fraudulent activity
- never carry your social security card with you
- beware of telephone/mail/email solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.
For more information from the federal government regarding Identity Theft, click here.
We have also put together an information guide about ID Theft, and how to recover from it. If you are a victim of ID Theft, or know someone who has been or is a victim, the guide can help you recover and protect your identity.