Ask an Officer
Question: Are there ways to protect yourself from identity fraud?
Answer: Kate McLaughlin, Community Policing Specialist
Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when your personal information is stolen which can cost you time and money, and destroy your credit and name. Some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft include:
- Shredding all documents before discarding them in the trash.
- Do not carry your social security card with you and be absolutely sure it is necessary if you need to give it out.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, mail, or internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
- Don’t use obvious passwords like birthdates, mother’s maiden name, or digits from your social security number.
- Keep your personal information in a safe place at home.
- Be alert when bills do not arrive at your home as expected, or credit card statements arrive that are not your account, or you are contacted about a purchase you did not make.
- Inspect your credit report which is free to do once a year, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Review financial accounts and billings regularly to look for charges you did not make.
If you become a victim of identity theft, place a fraud alert on your credit cards, close your accounts, file a police report, and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Important numbers include: Equifax 1-800-525-6285, Experian 1-888-397-3742, and TransUnion-1-800-680-7289. The Federal Trade Commission offers resources to assist you and can be contacted at 1-877-438-4338 or ftc.gov/idtheft.
If you would like to submit a question to Ask an Officer, contact Community Policing at the Euclid Police Department: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-289-8449.
I am the Community Policing Specialist at the Euclid Police Department.