Holidays Prime Time for Identity Thieves
Special Message from Sgt. James Anderson, SCV Sheriff’s Department:
The holidays are upon us. Gift giving and receiving make this a great time for families and friends, but it is also a great time for thieves. Are you going to be their next target? Do you protect your documents?
Potential thieves are out to get your identity. They will target your driver’s license, credit/debit cards, social security card, bank statements or business files.
With these documents they can use your credit to get goods and services. They may apply for credit in your name and make purchases that you won’t even know about for 30 days.
The thieves are out in organized teams and groups. They may distract you to steal your purse or bag. They will quickly use your credit to make purchases in many cases before you can report it stolen.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department wants you and your loved ones to be safe and not be a victim of theft or fraud.
Here are a few simple tips to remember.
When using your credit cards, protect your card number and personal identification number (PIN).
Don’t write your complete number on receipts.
Don’t keep your PIN in your wallet or purse. Your credit card with your PIN is giving thieves access to your money.
Keep track of your card. If you give your card to a clerk, make sure you get it back.
Choose only one card for use when making internet and phone purchases.
Do not respond to unsolicited emails that ask for your personal information.
The new trend of “internet phishing” is a recipe for disaster. Most internet phishing scams are asking you to provide your personal information, or to verify information. The people on the other end are not who they pretend to be. Your financial institution will not ask for this information via email.
Your mailbox is also a great access point for thieves to obtain your documents. Do not put checks in your personal mailbox. Take outgoing bills to the post office or the large blue mail boxes. Pick up your incoming mail as soon as possible. You may want to use a post office box for bills and business mails.
If you do find yourself a victim of identity theft, collect your documents and make a police report. Notify any credit card or bank affected, and put a fraud alert on your account information with the credit bureaus immediately. Should you have any questions or wish to report a scam, please contact the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.