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Who is watching out for you?

May 25, 2011
By MIKE SCOTT,Lee County Sheriff
Have you ever wondered how you can avoid becoming a victim of a fraud or a scam; or how you can

protect your identity and finances from falling into the hands of fraudsters? Perhaps you’ve already been

victimized and you don’t know what to do.



Many services are available, for a fee, promise extra protection from identity theft and internet fraud, as

well as offer monitoring services, access to a fraud recovery specialist, fraud insurance and anti-

“phishing” products. The question we have received on our Fraud Line is, “Do these services work and

are they worth the money?”



Skeptics have suggested that these services seldom provide any benefits that individuals can’t access for

free by undertaking the work themselves. Although some of the companies provide very useful

information, it is important that you as a consumer take precautionary measures to ensure you don’t get

taken advantage of by the very companies who promise to protect you.



Below are things you can do – at no cost - if you suspect that your personal information has been

compromised:

• Contact the Fraud Departments of the 3 major credit bureaus and request a “fraud alert” be placed

on your file.

• Contact the creditors of any accounts that have been tampered with.

• Immediately close accounts with fraudulent activity.

• Get a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com'>www.annualcreditreport.com'>www.annualcreditreport.com'>www.annualcreditreport.com.

• File a police report.

• The banking code specifies that bank customers will be refunded any money that is lost through

fraud as long as they are satisfied that the customer wasn't negligent. Ask your bank and credit

card companies to explain their policies to you.

• Contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242. We offer free resources,

tools and support to assist you in safeguarding your identity and finances.

• Contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at 239-477-1400 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. These services are offered to you,

free of charge.

If you have questions about this or if you have received a call and would like to report it, please contact the Fraud Hotline at 239-477-1242.

To learn more about the Crime Prevention topics offered by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office please visit their website at www.sheriffleefl.org'>www.sheriffleefl.org'>www.sheriffleefl.org'>www.sheriffleefl.org.

To reach your Crime Prevention Specialist directly:

Those living in Lehigh Acres, Alva and portions of East Fort Myers may contact Crime Prevention Specialist Larry Gutridge at 239-477-1802 or lgutridge@sheriffleefl.org'>lgutridge@sheriffleefl.org'>lgutridge@sheriffleefl.org'>lgutridge@sheriffleefl.org.





 
 

 

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