Crime Prevention

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Identity Theft FAQs and Tips

If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, wherein someone is using your personal identifying information such as your name, address, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account information, credit card number(s), etc., there are several things you should do right away:

◾Cancel any credit cards that may have been lost, stolen, or used without your permission.

◾Close any bank accounts that may have been compromised either by the passing of a stolen, forged, counterfeit check, or an unauthorized electronic funds transfer.

◾Contact any of the listed credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This ensures that no one but you can obtain any type of loan, credit card, etc., in your name without your permission. **Note: There is no need to contact all three credit bureaus, as one will report your information to the other two.

◾Obtain your credit report from any of the listed credit bureaus to ensure that only your correct information is listed. It is recommended that you obtain an additional copy of your credit report 90 days from the initial discovery of the identity theft. The reason for this is that it may take up to 90 days for an agency to report information to the credit bureaus.

◾Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (www.ftc.gov) to report that you've been a victim of identity theft. The FTC is a federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to pursue criminal cases, the Commission assists victims of identity theft by providing them with information to help them resolve the financial burden and/or other problems that can result from identity theft. The FTC also may refer victim complaints to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC’s Consumer Response Center.

◾File a police report. Be sure to include any names, telephone numbers and extensions, if any, of the credit cards or bank personnel that you spoke with when you canceled your accounts. If you are aware of any video surveillance or evidence (such as a check or receipt, etc.), please include this information in your original report and the name of the person who has the evidence so that we may contact them.

◾If you have been a victim of identity theft wherein someone is using your name, address and/or bank account information, it is recommended that you balance your bank account daily and/or close your account. Remember to contact your bank and file an Affidavit of Forgery so they may begin their investigation. The bank usually takes seven to ten business days to complete their investigation that will determine if you are responsible for the recent transactions or if the bank will credit your account with the money that was taken.

To obtain a copy of your police report, please contact the North Port Police Department; lobby hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please have your report number available. **Note: Police reports average 3-5 business days for processing before becoming available to the public.

The work volume of the North Port Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division's Economic Crimes Unit is such that not every case can be assigned to a detective. Reports are assigned on the basis of existing solvability factors or how likely the case can be solved & a conviction obtained. If you discover any additional information or leads that you think would help in solving your case, please furnish these facts to the North Port Police Department. To expedite this process, please have your case number or the date, time & location of your crime handy when you contact the North Port Police Department.

Future Precautions


◾Shred everything!
◾Do not leave your wallet, purse, electronics, vehicle registration, pink slip, or any other identifying information in your car where it is visible to the public.
◾Balance your checkbook daily.
◾Keep important documents filed away so that they are not easily accessible to visitors at your home or office.
◾Drop your mail off at the post office drop boxes instead of mailing from your home. If the drop box is full, take your mail into the US Post Office instead of leaving it outside for someone to take.
◾Have your new checks delivered to your bank instead of your home. Your bank will contact you when your checks have arrived.
◾Obtain a copy of your credit report at least once a year from all three credit bureaus to ensure that they are all reporting the same information.

**Note: Pursuant to Florida State Statute 817.568, a prosecution must be commenced within three years after the offense occurred. However, a prosecution may be commenced within one year after discovery of the offense by an aggrieved party if the prosecution is commenced within five years after the violation occurred.

Credit Bureaus

Experian Equifax Trans Union

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