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 been the victim of identity theft, someone you know has. 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 should your personal information be compromised:
- Report the incident to the fraud department of the three 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 ones.
- 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)
For additional information, contact the LCSO fraud line at 477-1242. The department offer free resources, tools and support to assist you in safeguarding your identity and finances.
To have a highly trained crime prevention specialist speak at your next community or business meeting about identity theft or fraud of scams, contact 477-1400. The service is free of charge.
Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office