Identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in the country. According to recent reports nearly 700,000 individual accounts have been put at risk. In addition, many police Offices do not have the expertise or resources to investigate each case. In fact, violators are caught less than ten percent of the time. Don’t be a victim of this crime, take steps to minimize your risk. Awareness and proper handling of your personal information is key to protecting yourself from fraud and corruption.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT?
- Treat personal information as if it were the most valuable commodity in your life
- Routinely check your Credit Report. (www.annualcreditreport.com)
- Smart Size - Reevaluate credit accounts regularly - if too many get rid of ones not used frequently and carry only the ones you need to use
- Close unused bank accounts. Immediately close accounts and establish new ones if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Keep your receipts, bank statements and credit card numbers in a safe place. Shred them when you are ready to dispose of them.
- Ask for the carbons if merchants are not using carbonless forms when you make a credit card purchase.
- Review your credit card statements, utility bills and bank statements for accuracy or for any unusual activity. Immediately report any discrepancy.
- Never give out your personal information over the phone. This includes people who call you to solicit a purchase or a donation. Also, beware of people calling to "confirm" personal or phone number and address information.
- Verify with the Ohio Attorney General or local Better Business Bureau that they are legitimate.