Identity Theft.qxd - Westchester County District Attorney

Identity Theft.qxd - Westchester County District Attorney

Avoid becoming a victim

• Review your credit card statements carefully

and immediately.

• Order a copy of your credit report from the

three main credit bureaus at least once a

year by calling:

Equifax 1(800) 685-1111

Experian 1(888) 397-3742

TransUnion 1(800) 916-8800

Message from District

Attorney Janet DiFiore

• Join “Fraud Alert” programs offered by

your financial institutions.

• Place passwords on your credit cards, bank

and phone accounts.

• Secure personal information in your home.

• Ensure that security procedures in the workplace

protect your personal information.

• Carry credit cards and other identifying

information only when you intend to use


• Follow up with creditors if bills do

not arrive on time.

• Immediately report lost or stolen cards.

• Shred or destroy paperwork you no longer


• Do not give out personal information over

the phone when you cannot confirm the

true identity of the caller.

As District Attorney, my job is to

keep Westchester a safe and secure

place to live and raise a family.

This brochure is one of a series of

crime prevention brochures produced

by my office that are available to all

Westchester residents free of charge.

These brochures will assist you and

your family in taking those steps

necessary to prevent crimes before

they occur. Please join me in making

Westchester a safer place to live.





111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

White Plains, NY 10601

Telephone: (914) 995-0002

Janet DiFiore

Westchester County District Attorney

• Promptly remove mail from your mailbox.

• Sign all credit cards upon receipt.

How do identity thieves steal personal identification

There are as many ways to steal your identity

as there are identity thieves. Here is a list

of some of the common ways an identity

thief operates and techniques to protect yourself.

“Shoulder Surfing” – when an identity thief

watches as you punch in your credit card

number, pin number, telephone calling card

number, or listens to you provide such information

over the phone. Make sure your

transactions are done privately – out of

the view and earshot of others.

“Dumpster Diving” – when an identity thief

rummages through garbage pails or commercial

dumpsters to obtain vital identifying

information that has been discarded. Shred

any documentation containing vital information

like credit card bills and credit

card solicitations. You can also stop preapproved

credit card solicitations by calling

1-888-5-OPTOUT or 1-888-567-8688.

“Skimming” – when an identity thief steals

credit card and debit card information as

your card is processed by using a special

information storage device. Keep an eye on

your card. If you see your card being

swiped through two different machines,

contact the store manager and ask for an


Identity thieves seek out jobs specifically in

order to get access to credit cards and other

personal information or bribe employees for

your financial information from businesses

or other institutions.

Beware of the information requested when

applying for store courtesy cards and

memberships. Decline requests to provide

any information that is not crucial - especially

your social security number. Inquire

as to why the information is requested, and

ask about the security measures

in place to protect your information.

Identity thieves may obtain credit reports by

posing as people who have a legal right to

access this information. They also divert

mail to another location using a change of

address form. The best source of information

for an identity thief is a lost or stolen wallet.

Limit the number of credit cards you carry

and never carry your Social Security Card

with you.

High Tech Identity Thieves use technology to

steal information.

“War Driving” - when an identity thief uses

special equipment to intercept wireless network

transmissions. Be aware that the thief

can then monitor your Internet communications

and see your transactions when you

use your wireless router. Make sure that

your computer’s wireless security - WEP

(Wired Equivalent Privacy) is enabled.

“Spoofing” - when an identity thief chooses

a domain name deceptively similar to a legitimate

web site in order to steal private information.

Make sure you double check the

site address to avoid logging onto a counterfeit

web site.

“Phishing” - when an identity thief sends an

email that looks like it came from your bank

or other financial institution requiring you to

reply with personal information for security

reasons – it may even tell you that you’ve

won a prize. This is a classic identity theft

scam. Do not respond. Alert your Internet

service provider and financial institution.

Keep your anti-virus and firewall software

up-to-date and never download files from


Regaining your credit and

clearing your name

Report the incident to police immediately and

get a copy of the police report.

Report fraudulent activity to your financial


Cancel your accounts and get new ones if

fraudulent activity has taken place.

Notify your postal inspector if mail theft is


Report the crime to the Federal Trade

Commission at 1 (877) 438-4338.

Most importantly, contact all three credit

bureaus and place a fraud alert on your

credit report so that any activity will be

reported to you immediately.

Equifax 1(800) 525-6285

Experian 1(888) 397-3742

TransUnion 1(800) 680-7289

Call SCAN - Shared Check Authorization

Network at 1 (800) 262-7771 to find out if

a bad check has been passed in your name.

To access information you must provide them

with your account number and

driver’s license.

If you believe you have become the victim of

Identity Theft, call the Westchester County

District Attorney’s Office Identity Theft

Help Line at (914) 995-0002 for assistance.

For more information about

theft on the internet

Westchester County District Attorney’s Office

Federal Trade Commission

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Postal Inspectors

U.S Secret Service

Department of Justice

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