Avoid becoming a victim
• Review your credit card statements carefully
• 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.
OFFICE OF THE
RICHARD J. DARONCO COURTHOUSE
111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
White Plains, NY 10601
Telephone: (914) 995-0002
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
High Tech Identity Thieves use technology to
“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
“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
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
U.S Secret Service
Department of Justice