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Prevent Identity Theft

08/17/2013

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting half a million new victims each year. Identity theft is the taking of a victim's identity to obtain credit and credit cards from banks and retailers, steal money from a victim's existing accounts, apply for loans, establish accounts with utility companies, rent an apartment, file bankruptcy, or obtain a job using the victim's name. Thousands of dollars can be stolen without the victim knowing about it for months or even years.

How do you protect your identity from identity theft suspects? Knowing how to prevent identity theft makes your identity more secure. Here are some suggestions that will assist in protecting your identity:

Do not give out personal information, such as social security number, mother's maiden name or your date of birth over the telephone. Identity theft suspects can pose as banks and government agencies.

Purchase a paper shredder and shred all documents such as bank statements, pre-approved credit applications, and any document that includes your personal information.

Do not carry your social security card or number with you. If you lose it, your number could be used by an identity theft suspect.

Do not write your social security number on your checks or any documents. If a business requests your social security number explain to them why you do not want to provide it, most businesses will understand.

When using your credit card online, only do so with well known companies that you trust. Most credible companies use encrypted websites for security reasons. The problem usually occurs once the credit card number has arrived at a company then someone illegally uses it, not while it is in cyberspace.

Only mail checks and personal information by placing them in a secured mailbox, such as inside the post office. Do not place your mail at your unsecured mailbox by the curb side.

Do not use your social security number, mother's maiden name, your birth date or similar names or numbers as a password for anything.

Do not click on "phishing" emails. These are emails where a suspect attempts to obtain your personal information by pretending to be a legitimate business that you have an account with. The email will tell you to click on the included link; however, the link goes to the suspect's computer and not to the legitimate business. If you provide your personal information, the suspect immediately obtains it. Do not click on any unknown links from an email. Go directly to the legitimate business' website.

Lastly, review your credit report at least twice a year. Reports should be obtained from all three major sources: Equifax at 800-685-1111; Experian at 888-EXPERIAN(397-3742); or TransUnion at 800-680-7293. You can also obtain one free credit report annually. Please visit the Federal Trade Commission website at ftc.gov for more information.



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Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff's station. If you wish to remain Anonymous, call "LA Crime Stoppers" by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

To receive more detailed, up-to-date information directly from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) via e-mail, go to www.Nixle.com and register for "Nixle" alerts from "LASD Headquarters Newsroom (SHB), Los Angeles County Sheriff" and your local LASD station area. Or, text your zip code to 888777 to receive text alerts only. Standard text messaging rates may apply depending on your calling plan.

Emergency: 9-1-1







Contact Information: Lieutenant John Hocking - (310) 219-2753,

Identity Theft










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